Marketplace Middle East explores how the region is tackling youth unemployment


Any use of this material must clearly credit CNN’s Marketplace Middle East

Marketplace Middle East airs on CNN International on Wednesday 8th March 2023 at 20:45 GST

In a new episode of Marketplace Middle East, CNN’s Eleni Giokos explores how the MENA region is tackling youth unemployment.

At the World Government Summit in Dubai, Giokos meets Morocco’s Minister of Higher Education, Abdellatif Miraoui who discusses how he plans to boost the number of graduates in the Kingdom, making universities more accessible and decreasing dropout rates, “The future of university education is to aim for empowerment, individual training, and more flexible minds. I think that what we have experienced in recent years shows that it is better to learn how to learn, than to force information on young people.”

The World Bank is funding efforts in Morocco for primary and secondary education. Miraoui says that this will have a positive impact on university education too, “The Moroccan education and training system needs transformation and all this requires means. Means of training trainers, means of technology. I think that the World Bank as well as many other international organisations, can help precisely on this transformation.”

Mazen Houalla, Partner at KPMG, speaks about how the region needs to prepare young people with the necessary tools for the future, and adapt educational programmes and curricula,  “In the job market, they’re asking for people who are more self-aware, emotional intelligence, very strong in presentation skills, as well as very well aware of how to use technologies, also very efficient in team working, and very strong in research and analysis, self-motivated and driven. In the region, unfortunately, we have a big gap to these kind of skills.”

Giokos also takes a look at Abwaab, a Jordanian EdTech start-up which is looking to help develop skills across the region with an experience that is tailored to each country. Hamdi Tabbaa, CEO and co-founder of Abwaab, explains, “Today we have all the teams that are working on Abwaab sitting locally in every single country that we operate in, in order to drive that locality.”

The app is free to download and access, but has some premium paid features. Tabbaa says the idea is for it to be an inclusive platform providing students with a digital learning experience, “Our goal out of all of this is to provide an equal learning opportunity, that is of high quality education to students across the region, whether they live in a rural area, or remote areas.”  

With remote learning during the pandemic, many schools and students around the world turned to online platforms to continue their learning. Houalla says that the pandemic changed views on virtual learning, “It opened our eyes that digital technology and e-learning is not only about having a student sitting behind a laptop and looking at the session online. It’s not that. You can really embed concepts we are using in the retail and business world, such as augmented realities, such as creative tools and learning methods in the classrooms.