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The survey shows approximately half of the 200 million young Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have thought of migrating. The current Covid-19 pandemic weakens economies and has caused discontent across the region.
42% of young Arabs have thought of emigrating, which is quite a worrisome trend for a region where more than half of the population is under 30.
The findings also emphasized current regional trends, with the desire to leave as most prominent in countries like Lebanon. One out of every six people are adolescents to young adults ages 15 and 24 years old.
Last August, a disastrous port blast in Lebanon’s capital aggravated the ongoing political, health, and socioeconomic crisis this year. Almost three-quarters of respondents mentioned they believe that the pandemic has made protests against the political status quo more likely.
Countries that also ranked high on the list were Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, and the Palestinian territories.
“The primary drivers of potential emigration are economic reasons and corruption, with educational opportunities, new experiences and safety, and security also playing a significant role.”According to the report
The survey shows confronting government corruption was the single most massive priority for attaining progress in the Arab world. Job creation was recognized as the second most significant priority for regional improvement, with 87% of respondents concerned about unemployment.
The survey also shows that Covid-19 has had an exceedingly detrimental impact on the region. Twenty percent of respondents said some of their relatives had lost their job due to the pandemic, 30% reported higher household debt, and 72% said the epidemic had made it more problematic to find a job.
When asked which country would they like to reside in, 46% of the Arab youth chose the United Arab Emirates, followed by the United States, Canada, the U.K., and Germany.
“The findings underpin the need for many parts of the MENA region to focus on and nurture its youth dividend or risk losing a generation of its brightest young people… Set against the backdrop of street protests and a sharp oil price decline that has led to acute government budget deficits, the study demonstrates the link between poor governance and lack of opportunities”Sunil John, founder of ASDA’A BCW
The survey also encompasses views on gender rights, personal identity, and notably, foreign relations. Young Arabs see Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the two rising Arab powers that influence the region’s geopolitical environment.
Young Arabs also see growing American influence in the region. The U.S. is seen more favorably (56%) by Arab youth than in 2019 (41%) or at any point since 2016.
The survey polled 4,000 Arab youth nationals, 18 to 24 years old, from 17 Arab states in North part Africa and the Middle East with a 50% male and 50% female. The primary survey was held between January and March, before the pandemic. Simultaneously, a second smaller survey across six Arab states took place in August to update the results.