Skip to Main Navigation

Investing in people for a better future in the Middle East and North Africa

December 21, 2018

Dar ElDhiafa – Tunisia



  • Children entering primary school today in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will one day work at jobs that have not yet been invented. Digital technologies are moving at breakneck speed and rapidly transforming the nature of work. The challenge for countries around the world is to adapt to the new digital economy and ensure that each new generation is equipped to seize the opportunities it creates. This challenge is especially acute for MENA, which will have to create 300 million jobs by 2050 to meet the needs of its large youth populations.

    This event will focus on how countries in the region can meet that challenge by preparing their workforces for the future and unlocking the potential of the large youth population as a driver of growth. The event will present findings of the 2019 World Development Report, which analyzes how technology is shaping the future of work and the skills needed to take advantage of these changes. The event will also present the recent MENA Education Flagship Report that provides a roadmap for transforming the region’s education systems to match the future demands of labor markets.

    Join us for a lively discussion that will gather decision makers, experts and civil society from across the region for a debate on meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities of the future.

    Investing in People for a Better Future
    in the Middle East and North Africa
    December 21, 2018 - 9:00am – 1:00pm
    - Dar Dhiafa, Carthage, Tunisia 

    9:00 – 9:30am

    Opening and welcoming remarks

    H.E. Mr. Youssef Chahed, Head of Government, Tunisia

    Ferid Belhaj, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), World Bank

    9:30 – 10:00am

    Presentation of the World Bank Flagship Reports


    « The Changing Nature of Work »

    Federica Saliola, Co-Director –  World Development Report 2019


     « Expectations and Aspirations:  A New Framework for Education in the Middle East and North Africa »

    Safaa El-Kogali, Education Practice Manager for the MENA Region, World Bank

    10:00 – 10:45am

    Panel 1: Digital Transformation: How to Manage and the Implications for the Jobs of Tomorrow?

    The digital transformation will produce profound changes in the nature of work and available jobs and the skills and behaviors needed to access them., How can the countries and people of the MENA region prepare for this transformation? What are the specific challenges the region will face, and what assets does it have to meet them? This session will cover the economic, educational, and social aspects of the coming changes to understand them better and better prepare for them.


    Moderator: Wassim Belarbi, Journalist, Express FM



    1.     Federica Saliola, Co-Director –  World Development Report 2019

    2.     H.E. Mr Zied Ladhari, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, Tunisia

    3.     Noomane Fehri, CEO, B@ Labs (incubation platform - Tunisia)

    4.     Ameni Tlili, Founder and President of Club Robotic, Institut Supérieur des Etudes Technologiques du Kef, Tunisia

    5.     Jamal Belahrach, President of the Zakoura Foundation for Rural Education


    Coffee Break


    Panel 2:   What Are the Accelerators of Change for Building the Human Capital of Tomorrow?

    Building the human capital of tomorrow is one of the region’s major challenges. What concrete solutions have countries adopted to ensure a sustainable reform dynamic? How to reconcile systemic and structural reforms - which deliver results over the long term - and the urgent need to equip young people with better skills and knowledge right now? What is the role of the private sector in strengthening reform efforts? How to support change management in public education administrations?


    Moderator: Wassim Belarbi, Journalist, Express FM



    1.     Safaa El-Kogali, Education Practice Manager for the MENA Region, World Bank

    2.     H.E. Mr. Hatem Ben Salem, Education Minister, Tunisia

    3.     H.E. Mrs. Nouria Benghabrit-Remaoun, Education Minister, Algeria

    4.     Badreddine Ouali, Chairman of the Board of Directors, VERMEG

    5.     Mohamed Abdallah Mayhoub, Secretary General of the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, Djibouti

    12:15 – 12:45pm


    Open discussion - Question and answer session


    12:45 – 1:00pm

    Closing remarks

    H.E. Mr. Zied Ladhari, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, Tunisia

    Amit Dar, Director, Strategy and Operations, World Bank



  • Youssef Chahed

    Head of Government of Tunisia

    Born in Tunis on September 18, 1975, Mr. Chahed entered politics after initially establishing himself as an academic. His first post was as Professor of Agricultural Economics at the Higher Institute of Agriculture in France from 2003 to 2009. During this time, he was also a visiting professor at many universities around the world, such as in Tokyo and Sao Paolo. He also authored numerous reports and articles on public policy in agriculture and agricultural production in Tunis. He was also involved in the design and delivery of capacity-building systems between Tunisia and the United States. Following the revolution, Mr. Chahed founded the Al-Jomhoury party in the spring of 2012 before joining Nidaa Tounes as a member of the Executive Board. Mr. Chahed was appointed Head of Government of Tunisia in August 2016. Prior to his current role, he served as Minister for Local Affairs.

    Ferid Belhaj

    World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa

    Ferid Belhaj took up the position of World Bank Group Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa on July 1, 2018. He has held several positions at the World Bank, including Chief of Staff of the President of the World Bank Group, Country Director for Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, Director for the Pacific Department, the World Bank’s Special Representative to the United Nations, and Country Manager for Morocco. He has also served as Bank Counsel for a number of countries, including Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Algeria, and Thailand.

    Federica Saliola

    Co-Director – World Development Report 2019

    Prior to this position, Ms. Saliola was a Manager in the Development Economics Global Indicators Group. In that role, she was responsible for developing global programs with a focus on policies and regulations across several thematic areas, including agriculture and agribusiness, skills, information and communication technology, public procurement, and PPPs. She has contributed to a number of World Bank reports. She holds a PhD in Economics and a Laureate in Political Science from the University of Rome, la Sapienza.

    Safaa El-Kogali

    Education Practice Manager for the MENA Region

    A leading expert with over 20 years of experience in international development, Ms. El-Kogali has occupied a number of positions across regions at the World Bank over the past 18 years, including Lead Education Specialist - Human Development Sector, and Senior Economist. She was also the Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Population Council and is the author of several books and studies including the current report on education in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Zied Ladhari

    Minister of Development, Investment, and International Cooperation, Tunisia

    Zied Ladhari was appointed Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation on September 6, 2017. He previously served as Minister of Industry and Commerce and Minister of Vocational Training and Employment. Mr. Ladhari holds a law degree and a Master’s in private law from the Tunis School of Legal and Political Sciences, and two postgraduate degrees from the Sorbonne. He was admitted to the National Bar of Tunisia in 2001 and has worked in law firms in Paris and as a lawyer at the Paris Court of Appeals. Mr. Ladhari has advised many African States, international organizations, and international companies on major international development projects.

    Noomane Fehri

    CEO, B@ Labs

    In January 2010 in Tunisia, Mr. Fehri founded an international technology consulting firm with experience in managing and starting up companies in the areas of information and communications technologies, banking, and energy. He held management positions at companies such as Schlumberger, KPMG, and Atos, and managed subsidiaries of multinational companies in France, Indonesia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria. He co-founded the Afek Tounes party in 2011 and was elected on October 23 of that same year to serve on the Constituent Assembly as his party’s representative for the first constituency of Nabeul. Prior to his current position, he served as Minister of Information and Communications.

    Ameni Tlili

    Founder and President of Club Robotic, Institut Supérieur des Etudes Technologiques du Kef (ISETKEF ROBOTIC), Tunisia

    A teacher, Ameni Tlili is a trained engineer with a special interest in robotics. In addition to her role as founder and president of ISETKEF ROBOTIC, she also works closely with the Kef Youth Center to raise public awareness about innovation and technology needs in an effort to encourage youth participation.

    Hatem Ben Salem

    Minister of Education, Tunisia

    Holder of a State doctorate in law from the Faculty of Law, Political Sciences, and Economics in Paris, and an agrégé (Professor) in Public Law from the Faculty of Law, Political Sciences and Economics in Tunis, Hatem Ben Salem has served as Ambassador of Tunisia to Senegal, Guinea, the Gambia, Cabo Verde, and Turkey. He later served as Tunisia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. He has also held the positions of General Coordinator for Human Rights in the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for Maghreb and African Affairs as well as European Affairs, Minister of Education and Training (August 2008-January 2011), and Director of the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies. Mr. Ben Salem was designated a Commander of the Order of the Republic in 2004 and Officer of the Order on November 7 in 2007.

    Nouria Benghabrit-Remaoun

    Minister of National Education, Algeria

    Nouria Benghabrit-Remaoun was appointed Minister of National Education in May 2014. A sociologist and researcher, Ms. Benghabrit was Director of the National Center for Research in Social and Cultural Anthropology and Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Oran. She was elected in 2002 and 2005 to serve two consecutive three-year terms as North Africa’s representative on the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). She served as President of the UNESCO Arab Committee for Higher Education. In 2012, she became a member of the Committee for Development Policy. In April 2018, she was appointed to serve as a board member on a new fund.

    Nouria Benghabrit-Remaoun

    Ministre de l’Éducation nationale, Algérie

    Nouria Benghabrit-Remaoun a été nommée ministre de l’Éducation nationale en mai 2014. Sociologue et chercheuse, Mme Benghabrit a été directrice du centre national de recherche en anthropologie sociale et culturelle et a dirigé le département de sociologie de l'université d'Oran. Elle a été élue en 2002 et en 2005, pour deux mandats successifs de trois années, membre représentant l'Afrique du Nord au Comité exécutif du Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique (CODESRIA). De 2003 à 2006, elle fut la présidente du comité arabe de l'Unesco pour l'enseignement supérieur. En 2012 elle rejoint le Comité des politiques de développement. En avril 2018, elle est nommée membre du Conseil d’administration d’un nouveau fonds de la Banque islamique de développement.

    Badreddine Ouali

    Chairman of the Board of Directors, VERMEG

    Mr. Ouali is Chairman of the Réseau entreprendre Tunisie, an association of business leaders with the motto “To create jobs, we create employers.” In 2015, Mr. Ouali made the decision to build three schools for Syrian refugees in southern Turkey. He also established the Tunisian Foundation for Development. He holds a degree from the graduate engineering school Ecole des Mines de Saint-Étienne (1986).

    Jamal Belahrach

    President of the Zakoura Foundation for Rural Education

    A graduate of the University of Saint-Denis, INSEAD, and the HEC Accelerated General Management Program, Mr. Belahrach launched Manpower’s Morocco subsidiary as its Managing Director. He actively participates in his country’s development initiatives, founded the Center for Young Leaders in Morocco (CJD) and the Réseau International de la Diaspora Marocaine, among others, and served as Chairman of the CGEM Employment and Social Relations Committee. He introduced health coverage, banking services for temporary employees, and the draft law on temporary employment. He is President of JOBS for Africa Foundation and the Zakoura Foundation for Rural Education.

    Mohamed Abdallah Mayhoub

    Secretary General of the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training

    Mohamed Abdallah Mayhoub has held several positions including Technical Adviser to the Minister of National Education, Inspector General for National Education, and Science Inspector at the Ministry of National Education. He holds a degree from the École Supérieure de l'Education Nationale, Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche at Poitiers and a Master’s from the University of Bourgogne and the University of Rouen (France).

    Amit Dar

    Director, Strategy and Operations, World Bank

    In his current role, Amit Dar oversees the operational and global engagement of the HD Practice Group and works on strategy development and implementation. Prior to this, he held the positions of Director of the Education Global Practice, and Sector Manager for Education in South Asia, where he oversaw the lending and analytical education program for the region. He also worked on social protection issues in Africa, Latin America, East Asia, and the Middle East. Amit has published extensively on the economics of labor markets and education in the developing world. He holds a PhD in Economics from Brown University.

    Wassim Belarbi

    Journalist, Express FM - Moderator

    A journalist at Express FM, Wassim Belarbi previously worked at Radio Tunis Chaîne Internationale (RTCI) as a presenter on TV7 and as a producer. He is currently the host of Espresso on Express FM, a Tunisian radio station specializing in economics.