Unveiling Arab Youth Emigration: A Call for Urgent Action and Sustainable Solutions
A depressing trend is stealthily gaining ground in the heart of the Arab world: the rising dejection of Arab youth throughout the Levant and North Africa. If this phenomenon is not addressed, it could become the most significant problem these countries have ever faced. Before these societies’ basic foundations fall apart, the alarm bells are blaring, and we need to pay attention to them immediately.
Over half of Arab youth in the Levant and North Africa are actively considering or trying to leave their countries in pursuit of better prospects, according to a recent Arab Youth Survey by ASDA’A BCW marketing firm. Looking more closely at the data, it becomes clear how serious the issue is: a startling 53 per cent of people in the Levant and 48 per cent of people in North Africa express this desire to emigrate.
These statistics are not anomalies; they are part of a distressing trend that has been building for years. This desire for a better life elsewhere has been expressed in previous studies, and according to data from 2020, nearly half of young Arabs are considering leaving their country, with that number climbing to a troubling 63 per cent in the Levant. The socioeconomic soil of these areas is where the roots of this phenomenon are deeply rooted.
The MENA area has faced several difficulties, ranging from the devastating effects of the Arab Spring and the threat of Daesh to the economic repercussions of COVID-19. A territory plagued by political unrest, economic stagnation, high living expenses, and a culture of corruption that undermines faith in authorities. Since youth make up a sizable section of the population, their hopes are hampered by the average young unemployment rate, which is still among the highest in the world at about 25%.
In pursuing a better future, it is inspiring these young people to consider perilous treks across dangerous waters and into the hands of human traffickers. While emigration may have short-term advantages for host nations with labour shortages, the “brain drain” it causes in the countries of origin can impede local economic development, creating a vicious cycle.
Yet, amid this disheartening narrative, there is a glimmer of hope – a potential path to recovery lies in the hands of these very youth. According to the Arab Youth Survey, more than 80% of young Arabs value principles like freedom, equality, and respect for human rights. This universal feeling permeates North Africa, the GCC, and the Levant, indicating that the groundwork for a better future has already been established.
One crucial tactic may be incentivising young people to come home after experiencing other cultures, economies, and possibilities overseas. Their acquired knowledge, experiences, and perspectives could be used to stimulate local entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development. To do this, though, governments and leaders must work together to address the underlying causes of hopelessness by combating corruption, improving job opportunities, and creating an environment that supports talent.
The problem’s urgency necessitates quick action, even though no miracle cure exists to turn the tide of hopelessness overnight. The Levant and North African leaders must accept the challenge and seize this chance for change. We can only expect to stop the hopelessness and create a more promising future for Arab youth by fostering an atmosphere that maintains universal principles, promotes civic engagement, and prioritises economic development.
We must travel a difficult road to ensure that these countries’ futures are safe. The Arab Spring is a sobering reminder of how adolescent discontent may spark large-scale protests and societal upheaval. Let’s keep in mind that supporting our kids’ dreams is a choice and a must as we work toward development and advancement. Let there be no doubt about the rallying cry: it’s time to turn hopelessness into an opening and pave the path for a better future.