Youth unemployment a major challenge for Iraq’s next government. By Robert Edwards and Mohammed Rwanduzy

Labor Market & Employment Policy

Shang

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s next government has a problem. Almost half the population is under the age of 19 and unemployment among 15-24 year olds already stands at 18 percent. Unless opportunities are created for them, their disillusionment will only grow.

According to the latest figures from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the unemployment rate across Iraq stands at 11 percent.

Unemployment among young people is a particular concern. Judging by the low turnout in the May 12 parliamentary election, the ongoing mass migration to Europe, and the continued appeal of militia groups offering alternative paid employment, many are losing faith in government pledges to address the problem.

Many will be surprised to learn that the rate of youth unemployment is actually higher among young people with higher education. This politically engaged group has high expectations and, like those who initiated protests across the Arab world in 2011, won’t respond well to disappointment.

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Youth unemployment a major challenge for Iraq’s next government. By Robert Edwards and Mohammed Rwanduzy


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