JICA, since February 2012, has engaged in a three-year joint research project on “After the Arab Spring: Inclusive Growth in the Middle East and the North Africa (MENA) Regions” with the Brookings Institution. For the first-year project, JICA-RI contributed to the research on education in Yemen and other themes, presenting the findings at a seminar in Washington D.C. in January, 2013.
As the outcomes of the second-year research project, JICA-RI Research Fellow Akira Murata published the research paper entitled “Designing Youth Employment Policies in Egypt,” which was released from the Brookings Institution.
Highlighting the “Youth Bulge” and high youth unemployment rate among the highly-educated, which were considered as primary factors behind a youth-led democracy movement in Arab economies, this paper provides policy recommendations for the Government of Egypt to promote more inclusive growth: how to involve the highly-educated in the local labor market; and to incorporate them into further economic growth for the country.
The field survey was conducted for engineering students at nine universities in six cities of Egypt during the period of July-August 2013. The survey has used the discrete choice experiment (DCE) to elicit job preferences among the youth. For a comparative analysis, the similar survey was conducted for engineering students at eight universities in five cities in Indonesia, which is one of Muslim-majority nations in Asia, also facing “Youth Bulge.”
The most obvious findings to emerge from this study are that: the public-private sector wage differentials must be narrowed; better benefits must accompany private sector employment (particularly the support for continuing education, upgrading qualifications, and health insurance); and good IT infrastructure matters. Taken together, these steps could significantly contribute to an increase in the rates of a private sector employment among young Egyptian job seekers, even in the case of continued high public sector wages.