When disgruntled young people took to the streets of Ouargla and other southern Algerian cities, in recent weeks, their demonstrations initially sent ripples of concern throughout the North African country and the rest of the region.
A de-stabilizing combination
Considering the challenges at hand, in the Maghreb, solutions will take more time than young people are willing to accept or politicians are ready to admit.Oussama Romdhani
Quality jobs in particular have been lacking in the Maghreb, a region where one in two young people, on average, work in the informal sector. Algeria’s hydrocarbon sector provided revenue to the state but could not offer a fundamental solution to youth unemployment. Christine Lagarde, director general of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), recently noted in Algiers that “hydrocarbons represent 40% of Algeria’s GDP, 98% of its exports but only 2% of the job opportunities.” Although it creates a wide-ranging gamut of economic activity, the oil and gas sector itself is not labor-intensive.