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Washington, DC: World Bank | World Bank, Washington, DC
Middle East and North Africa
2012-08-13T08:38:37Z | 2012-08-13T08:38:37Z | 2011-02

On January 18, 2011, the Arab Development Summit Youth Forum met in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, aiming to provide young Arab leaders and Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) entrepreneurs with the opportunity for dialogue with Arab decision makers, providing recommendations on how to empower youth in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) through ICT. Tunisia's Jasmine revolution and its aftermath highlighted demand from youth for good governance. Access to information, freedom of expression and overall economic opportunities, ranked highest among the priorities articulated by youth-led Arab movements for change. The issue of youth employment is key to inclusive development in MENA which has the youngest population (average age 23 years) together with the highest global youth unemployment rate. While demand for ICT has been increasing dramatically, there is a regional youth digital divide. Mobile penetration is high but only 1.6 percent of the population has internet access. Addressing challenges on the supply-side and the demand-side can enable youth to reap the benefits of ICT.


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