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The future of jobs and skills in the Middle East and North Africa: Preparing the region for the fourth industrial revolution

Education and work in the Middle East and North Africa region will determine the livelihoods of over 300 million people and drive growth and development for generations to come. As one of the youngest populations in the world, it is imperative that the region make adequate investments in education and learning that hold value in the labour market and prepare citizens for the world of tomorrow. In addition, as the global transformation of work unfolds in the region, policymakers, business leaders and workers must be prepared to proactively manage this period of transition. This Executive Briefing uses the latest available data, including through a research partnership with LinkedIn, to provide a concise overview of the region’s education, skills and jobs agenda. It is intended as a practical guide for leaders from business, government, civil society and the education sector to plan for the needs of the future. It is also a call to action to the region’s leaders to address urgently the reforms that are needed today to ensure that the Middle East and North Africa’s young people can harness the new opportunities that are coming their way. In addition to providing insights on current trends and future projections, the World Economic Forum also aims to provide a platform for multi-stakeholder collaboration to prepare for the future of work by closing skills gaps and gender gaps through two key initiatives in the region. The New Vision for Arab Employment consolidates the latest insights, brings together business efforts to impart employability skills and supports constructive public-private dialogue for reform of education systems and labour policies. To date, companies engaged in the initiative have supported skills development for 250,000 people. In addition, the Gender Parity Task Forces help provide a method for national stakeholders to close economic gender gaps, with the first task force in the region to be launched this year. We invite more stakeholders to join these efforts, enhancing collaboration and coordination to accelerate impact.