Survey: How young Arabs look at the decade ahead, terrorism and society

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Arab youth expect Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to have a bigger impact on the Middle East than any other Arab leader, according to the 10th annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2018, released today.

Young Arabs throughout the Middle East express a high level of confidence in the Crown Prince and his leadership, with 63 percent supporting his appointment, 64 percent viewing him as a strong leader, and 59 percent saying Mohammed bin Salman will lead Saudi Arabia in the right direction.

Support for the new Crown Prince among Saudi youth is overwhelming, with 91 percent of young Saudis supporting his appointment, 97 percent considering him a strong leader, and 90 percent saying Mohammed bin Salman will move the country in the right direction.

For this year’s ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, polling firm PSB Research conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with men and women aged 18-24 in 16 Arab nations, between January 21 and February 20, 2018.

Sunil John, founder of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and President, Middle East, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, said: “This is a milestone Survey for us, marking a full decade of the region’s leading study into its most important demographic.

‘A Decade of Hopes & Fears’

“This year’s edition is titled ‘A Decade of Hopes & Fears’ and features insights into young people’s concerns over jobs, education, security and corruption. Looking forward to the next decade, it’s clear that Mohammed bin Salman represents great hope for young Arabs across the region who demand to see clear action on these pressing issues.”

Young Arabs express strong support for Saudi Arabia’s recent reforms, with 88 per cent across the region supporting the decision to allow women to drive and 86 per cent supporting the anti-corruption drive.

Asked about Saudi Vision 2030, the Crown Prince’s roadmap to diversify the Saudi economy, 92 per cent of young Saudis say they are confident that the plan will succeed in securing the future of the Saudi economy.

Young Saudis are also extremely optimistic about their futures, with 91 per cent saying their country is moving in the right direction, compared to 54 per cent of young Arabs across the region, and just 13 per cent of youth in the Levant. More than four-in-five (82 per cent) of young Saudis also say their best days are ahead of them.

Other key findings:

• Youth say the past decade – shaped by the Arab Spring and ISIS – has left the Middle East drifting off course
• To steer the region in the right direction, action is needed on jobs, education, corruption and the fight against terror
• Young Arabs are convinced that ISIS – and its ideology – will be completely defeated
• While young Arabs increasingly turn to social media for their news, they see al Jazeera as the least trusted news sources
• Inspired by the Digital Revolution, future Arab entrepreneurs turn to the tech sector, which offers plentiful opportunities in the region.