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About E4E

The E4E Initiative for Arab Youth has its origins in 2009 when the IFC recognized the growing urgency of better understanding and being a part of the solution to the rising level of youth unemployment in the Arab world, the highest in the world.  A comprehensive review was undertaken to explore the role of education and training to overall youth employability, itself a variable in the jobs equation. A partnership was formed with the Islamic Development Bank in 2010 and consultants from McKinsey and Co. began work in August of that year.  

Research for the report covered the 22 countries in the Arab world with deeper analysis undertaken in 9 economically diverse countries, which represented 60% of the region’s GDP and 70% of the population. 1500 youth and 1500 employers were surveyed to examine a wide range of issues.  Over 200 interviews were conducted with senior leaders from government, industry, civil society and the education sector. This research was underpinned by an extensive literature review and examination of international case studies.  

  • The report, Education for Employment: Realizing Arab Youth Potential was launched in April 2011, at the peak of the political changes sweeping the region.  Its findings were stark:
  • The Arab world suffers from the highest youth unemployment in the world, at the time standing at over 25%
  • Female youth unemployment is even higher, exceeding 30% across the Arab world
  • The region’s labor force youth participation rates are among the lowest globally at around 35%, compared to the global average of 52%
  • The economic loss of youth unemployment exceeds US$40 billion annually across the Arab world
  • Two-thirds of the Arab world population is below age 29 – tens of millions of young people will enter the work force over the next decade adding pressure to the economies and society.  

The need for action by all stakeholders is urgent.  Based upon this research, the IFC and its partners launched the E4E Initiative for Arab youth, which began its efforts in February 2012 with a dedicated team based across the region from Rabat to Cairo to Amman to Dubai. The aim of the E4E Initiative is to provide youth with skills that are relevant to the marketplace by investing in education, engaging stakeholders and enabling solutions so that Arab Youth can earn a better future.   

Through targeted interventions, the E4E Initiative aims to invest in replicable models of employment-focused education and training provision; catalyze stakeholders to take action; and demonstrate effect of the complementary role of the private sector in providing quality, relevant post-secondary education and training.

Further, the E4E Initiative will provide advisory support toward improving the enabling environment by addressing system failures, regulatory constraints that inhibit private sector investment in tertiary education, and strengthen quality assurance and accreditation frameworks as they apply to both private and public education and training providers; and to help change mindsets on the role of the private sector in education and improve the perception of vocational and workforce-readiness training as a viable choice for enhancing employment and entrepreneurship prospects.  

The Initiative focuses on four countries at this initial stage: Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. Further diagnostic studies were conducted in each of these economies.  Results of these studies can be found in the 'News and Resources" section in the website. 


Alejandra Eguiluz
Operations Officer
Amira Aboulkheir
E4E Advisory Program Lead
Amy Refaat
Associate Operations Officer
Dahlia Khalifa
E4E Regional Head
Dina Rifaat
Investment Analyst
Lucy Aghadjanian
Research Analyst
Mariam Semeda
Operations Officer, IC MENA
Pamela Hedstrom
Senior Housing Finance Specialist
Rasmiya Masoud
Investment Officer
Salah-Eddine Kandri
Manager, Consumer Services (EMENA)
Svava Bjarnason
Principal Education Specialist
Sylvia Zulu
Manager, SBA (MENA)
Zineb Benkirane
Project Officer
Realizing Arab Youth Potential
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