Navigating the Middle East’s perfect storm

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high unemployment rate
The youth population in the Middle East expected to increase by 40 percent by 2020

The youth population in the Middle East has been observed to be growing exponentially and is expected to increase by 40 percent by 2020. This also meant that the region will have to create 80 million new jobs despite the region’s current high unemployment rate.

Although concerns over oil and geopolitical stability have caused investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to fluctuate immensely, the sheer pace of the development can result in significant opportunities.

The Middle East Industry 4.0 study shows that digital transformation could bring about an additional $16.9 billion annual revenue for companies in the Middle East from 2017 to 2021 as well as an additional $17.3 billion in annual cost savings and efficiency gains. Demographics play a critical role in the rapid shift to mobile within the MENA region. Young people are pushing the region into one of the world’s fastest adopters of smartphones and social media. Saudi Arabia current has one of the highest Twitter penetration in the world.

Therefore, governments in the region have begun to make substantial investments in education. However, there is more that needs to be done, and the cultivation of innovation and entrepreneurship through technology is a vital starting point.

Leaders across the region today must understand that a collaborative team environment is essential. Visions and values must be communicated clearly, and they will have to listen to the voices of those key stakeholders.

Crude oil is no longer the region’s most valuable resource. Rather, their youth and data are. This phenomenon has resulted in the need for urgent action. However, the direction and scale of change are driven by the megatrends and our responses towards them. Therefore, the success will be determined by how these changes are administered and how the opportunities are seized.

Source: World Economic Forum

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