The Future Today: Youth and Adolescents of the Middle East and North Africa Situation Analysis on Adolescents and Youth in MENA | Ifi Background Paper
IFI Background Paper | November 2011
The Future Today: Youth and Adolescents of the Middle East and North Africa
Situation Analysis on Adolescents and Youth in MENA by Suad Joseph
Calls for attention to children and youth are usually couched in future thinking: The children and youth of today will be the bulk of the population tomorrow, so we need to pay attention to them today. In much of the Middle East and North Africa, the reality is reversed. Children and youth are the bulk of today’s population. In all the MENA countries, those under 29 constitute a minimum of one half and up to two-thirds of the population. Today’s demographic reality has triggered, at least among some academics if not political leaders, a sense of urgency. The issues which call for concern are the categories of “youth” and “adolescents”; the “youth bulge”; concerns about “waithood”; the imagined economic opportunity produced by the youth bulge; the contentious demands for inclusion; and the anxieties about the “crisis of youth”.