Employment in countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has grown one percent per year on average within private sector firms, which is much lower than the five percent average among other middle-income peers. In addition, the female labor force participation rate of 20% is the lowest in the world. And countries in the region also experience the high youth unemployment rate estimated at 26%.
Ensuring the private sector can gain access to markets and compete equally with government-run businesses is vital for countries across MENA to create the jobs needed to strengthen employment opportunities for all.
The new report, Jobs Undone: Reshaping the Role of Governments toward Markets and Workers in the Middle East and North Africa, explores the challenges that the private sector faces in the region and offers policy recommendations for how MENA governments can overcome continuing labor market stagnation that continues to undermine economic development and social progress.
The report uses two rounds of World Bank Enterprise Surveys (WBES) and data on key features of product market regulations available for the first time for the MENA region. The report also includes case studies of seven young entrepreneurs to present a new perspective on the challenges facing private sector development that is crucial for job creation.