Tunis, Tunisia, May 17, 2012 — About 1.6 million youths will enter Tunisia's labor force over the next decade and private education providers could help many of these young people find rewarding, well-paying jobs, according to a new study by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
With youth unemployment at 27 percent, private colleges and trade schools could equip graduates with the skills they need to find work in several fast-growing fields, including IT outsourcing, construction, real estate, tourism and electronics. The study found the private sector could complement public efforts to provide Tunisia's youth with the training to excel in a rapidly-changing labor market, where over 40 percent of post-secondary graduates are unemployed.
"In some sectors of the economy, we see a mismatch between education programs and the demands of the labor market," said Dahlia Khalifa, the head of IFC's e4e Initiative for Arab Youth. "This study found that private post-secondary schools can provide students with the practical skills they need to find work, boosting employment and stoking economic development in Tunisia."
The study was done as part of the e4e initiative, launched by IFC and the Islamic Development bank in 2010 to address the challenge of youth unemployment in the Arab world by promoting private-sector education.
Recent data show that about 25 percent of youth in the Middle East and North Africa are unemployed, amongst the highest rate globally, costing the region nearly $50 billion a year.
IFC is holding a stakeholder consultation workshop at Tunisia's Concorde Les Berges du Lac hotel on May 17 to discuss the results of the study and develop an action plan to improve the employability of Tunisia youth over the short and medium term. The workshop includes members of the government, employers and youth along with both private and public sector educators.