Queen Rania today took to the stage at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Jordan to call for urgent action on unemployment in the Arab World, saying a “regional renaissance” is required to improve job prospects.
The youth unemployment problem in the Middle East and North Africa is the worst in the world, with a rate of 28.3 percent, according to the WEF. An estimated 100 million new jobs are required in the region by 2020.
“Millions of people need millions of jobs… Generally, the people with the best education can't find the jobs they want, and the people with the least education find most jobs, albeit the low-quality ones,” she said.
“A new vision for Arab employment requires a regional renaissance… It can't be done without political will, and that doesn't just come from the top. It starts with governments and the private sector forming closer ties.”
Watch a video of Queen Rania's speech below
Queen Rania acknowledged that the jobs crisis it was an old problem – but said solving unemployment no less of a priority because of that.
"When it comes to the topic of employment in the Arab world, we've been saying the same things, pointing out the same facts... for years and years and years."
While the situation has not improved, conditions may have worsened amid increasing poverty in the Middle East and North Africa, Queen Rania said.
“We've witnessed frustrations boil over as young people grow disillusioned,” she said.
Improving education is key to boosting employment prospects in the region, Queen Rania said.
“Isn't it ironic how most of us in the Arab world want to carry the latest phones, own the trendiest gadgets, stay ahead of the curve on social-media networks, while our schools and what we learn in them lag conspicuously behind… There can be no excuses any more. We must do better - our children deserve it.”
WEF: Call to boost competitiveness amid Arab jobs crisisArab countries need to become more competitive in order to stave off the region’s looming employment crisis, according to a report from the ... World Economic Forum - Jordan
WEF - Advancing growth and resilience in the MENA regionThe transformations in the Middle East and North Africa have by no means come to an end. As we come together at the Dead Sea in Jordan, the situation ... World Economic Forum - Jordan
Peace, jobs high on agenda as Jordan's King Abdullah opens WEFPeace between Israel and Palestine and the creation of more jobs in the Arab world are high on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, at ... World Economic Forum - Jordan
Leaders at Jordan WEF to discuss ‘urgent’ economic issuesWorld leaders including King Abdullah of Jordan, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are set to attend this ... World Economic Forum - Jordan
World Economic Forum in Jordan: LIVE coverageJob creation and peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are high on the agenda at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North ... World Economic Forum - Jordan
Abbas set to attend World Economic Forum in JordanPalestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is to attend the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa region, which takes place in Jordan ... World Economic Forum - Jordan