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How Silatech is Empowering Young Entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East

Solving high unemployment rates for youth in Africa and the Middle East has been a pressing challenge for a long time. Unemployment in much of the Middle East and North Africa region remains the highest in the world at a level of 30%.

Recent political events and conflicts have hampered economic development in African and the Middle Eastern countries causing unemployment to stay at an alarmingly high level.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lists other socio-economic causes to be, "high labour force growth, skill mismatches, labour and product market rigidities, large public sectors, and high reservation wages have been key factors behind the large and persistent level of youth unemployment."

With millions of new young workers entering the workforce each year, the unemployment problem is not going to be easily solved. Experts predict that if we fail to find a solution soon, the problem could reach a level of crisis and the survival of individual countries within Africa and the Middle East could come into question if conflicts were to escalate.

As economies fail to provide adequate jobs for youth, more young people in Africa and the Middle East have turned to extreme ideologies for answers to their problems. It's no secret that extremist groups target the unemployed for their recruits and will continue to do so. The longer young people sit around unemployed with poor job prospects on the horizon, and sub-standard quality of life, the louder the extremist's messages become, causing some youth to question the economic and political systems that were supposed to provide them with job opportunities.

As African and Middle Eastern countries bid to create more job opportunities in the private sector for youth, it has become apparent that more strategic partnerships will need to be formed to give them the support they need to make it happen as they find themselves with more and more daunting socio-economic challenges to overcome.

Silatech, a leading social development NGO headquarterd in Qatar is working to create sustainable jobs and economic opportunities for youth in Africa and the Middle East. They have successfully mobilized efforts to develop the necessary mechanisms to link young jobseekers in these regions to gainful employment. Silatech's programs provide youth with the skills and experience needed by employers to be able to find a job. The organization is also working with employers to enhance youth hiring practices and make them aware of how their businesses can benefit from hiring young people.

Many expert economists agree that funding African and Middle Eastern startups is fundamental to providing the jobs for youth. Silatech is helping young entrepreneurs establish, grow and sustain income generating enterprises through assisting them with access to financing, business development training, mentorship, and the strategy help they need to grow their companies in new markets. Startups run by young people provide them with an income source and a livelihood, as well as creates more jobs for their peers in the community.

While much work remains to reduce the youth unemployment epidemic that has plagued Africa and the Middle East, Silatech's efforts to create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people have been nothing short of extraordinary.

The organization recently surpassed 1-million jobs created for young men and women in 17 countries, including tailor-made programs to economically empower refugees and internally displaced persons and integrate them within their societies!

To accelerate their efforts and reach more youth in need of an opportunity, more partners from government agencies, non-governmental agencies (NGOs), the private sector, educational institutions, and financial organizations need to join hands, and believe in the importance of empowering youth to achieve social and economic stability.

Silatech's most recent collaborations include:

  • Memorandum of Understanding between Silatech, the UN Democracy Fund and Tamkeen for Development in Tunisia aiming at engendering, promoting and strengthening youth engagement, skills development, entrepreneurship and improving employability in countries or regions of mutual interest.
  • Partnership with Al Amal bank to finance youth enterprises to create 63,414 jobs around Somalia. A collaboration with American Refugee Committee (ARC) and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to provide housing and energy solutions for 1,000 families and develop youth-owned businesses with a goal of creating 3,000 jobs for returning refugees to Somalia
  • Collaboration agreement with United Nations Women (UN Women) to economically empower 1000 urban, pre-urban and rural women and girls in the most vulnerable situations including with disabilities, survivors of Gender Based Violence, living in Refugee camps in Sudan and actively engage them in the promotion of social cohesion
  • Collaboration agreement with Al Amana Microfinance to achieve financial inclusion of Moroccan youth through financing youth entrepreneurial projects. The program aims at creating 684,000 jobs.

Powerful collaborations and programs that create jobs for youth and cut the unemployment rate in Africa and the Middle East may just be what the extremists fear the most.

"Silatech's model works to fix the underlying causes of unemployment and drain the resources of extremist groups. We collaborate with partners from all sectors to mobilize resources and expertise to empower young people and equip them with the skills and tools needed to help them fulfill their full potential, and enable them to participate in the economic development of their societies. We believe that addressing youth unemployment transforms all the components of society" Silatech CEO, Sabah Al-Haidoos