ASDA’A BCW’s 13th Arab Youth Survey, released yesterday, revealed that for the tenth year in a row, Arab youth chose the UAE as a country they aspire to live in and want their countries to emulate.
The survey, conducted by BSP Insights, a company specialized in global strategic analysis and studies, this year included 3,400 Arab citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 in 50 cities across 17 countries during the period between June 6-30, 2021, and the survey sample was distributed equally between men and women.
About half of Arab youth (47%) chose the UAE as their preferred destination to live, which is more than double the number that chose the United States, which came in second place according to the survey. Almost the same percentage (46%) said that the UAE is the country they want their countries to emulate, followed by the United States (28%), then Canada and Germany (12% each), and France (11%).
When asked about the reason for choosing the UAE; About a third of Arab youth (28%) referred to the country’s growing economy and the vast opportunities it provides, while the factors of clean environment, security and safety and generous salary packages ranked high among the reasons mentioned by Arab youth.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Sunil John, President of BCW Middle East and North Africa and founder of ASDA’A BCW, said: “There is no doubt that the results are very joyful, especially as it coincides with the UAE’s celebration this year of half a century since its founding and preparing for another fifty years of prosperity. and success.”
John added: “With the repercussions of (Covid-19) receding, in light of the proactive efforts made by the wise leadership of the UAE, and the launch of Expo 2020 Dubai, amid great global interest; There is a clear spirit of positivity and optimism dominating the results of this year, especially since the confidence of Emirati youth in the economic vision of their country continues to record high global levels.”
Despite the frustrating effects of the “Covid-19” pandemic, Arab youth in general in the Middle East and North Africa region expressed optimism for the future. According to the poll, about two-thirds (60%) said that their coming days would be better. In the UAE, 90% of Emirati youth said that “their coming days are better.”
While nearly two-thirds of Emirati youth (62%) expect to have a better life than their parents; 99% of them considered their country’s economy to be moving in the right direction, compared to 97% last year. Moreover, all young Emirati men and women surveyed this year said that their leadership cares about their opinions, which is another inspiring result in conjunction with the UAE’s celebration of its golden jubilee.
John continued: “It is clear that the feeling of national pride is one of the most prominent axes of our findings in the UAE, where 41% of Emiratis said that their nationality is essential to their personal identity, more than double the rate registered regionally, and this shows the impact of the message of national unity that they The Emirati leadership is trying to establish it among the youth.”
John explained: “Emirati youth also praised their country’s efforts to promote gender equality, with more than 8 out of 10 saying that men and women have equal rights and job opportunities; This is also much higher than the regional average.
Optimism about the future
ASDA’A BCW’s 13th Arab Youth Survey revealed that most Arab youth in the Middle East and North Africa believe that their coming days will be better, despite the pandemic, ongoing conflicts and unprecedented economic decline in the region.
According to the survey, 60% of the participating Arab youth expressed their optimism for the future – the highest level of optimism recorded by the survey in five years.
The survey report, titled “The Future with Renewed Hopes,” highlights the optimism enjoyed by Arab youth. Almost half (48%) said they would have a better life than their parents, the highest percentage in the last three years. Half of the respondents said that their countries’ economies are moving in the right direction, and most of them expected a comprehensive economic recovery by 2022.
Increased confidence in the government
The survey revealed an increase in the percentage of Arab youth who trust their governments to solve their problems, as about three-quarters of Arab youth (72%) believe that their governments care about their opinions – which is supported by 88% of young people in the Gulf countries, and this belief also prevails even in North African and eastern countries average.
The results of the survey show that Arab youth perceive Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia as the strongest allies of their countries, with 8 out of 10 people saying that these countries are a true ally or some kind of ally to their countries. Arab youth also see China and Russia as the fourth and fifth strongest allies in the region, while the United Kingdom and the United States are ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.
Thinking about emigrating
The lack of economic opportunities is still the main motive for the migration of Arab youth, as a third of respondents (33%) said that they were thinking or trying to leave their countries, and although it is a large percentage, it remains much lower than the 42% recorded in 2020.
A broad cross-section of Middle East experts—including representatives from government agencies, multilateral institutions, civil society organizations, the media, academia, and literature—have called for the results of ASDA’A BCW’s 13th annual Arab Youth Survey released today to be taken into account. An explicit call to decision-makers in the Middle East and North Africa to take practical steps to build a better future for youth.
In this context, His Excellency Yousef Manea Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America, said: “The data contained in the ASDA’A BCW Thirteenth Arab Youth Survey indicate a fundamental shift taking place in the region. Young people are adopting a more optimistic outlook, while at the same time undergoing a series of profound changes that are currently taking place. The growing nationalist spirit resonates even more with Arab youth, as this generation increasingly looks to brotherly Arab countries to lead the region’s future. Undoubtedly, our increasing self-reliance, especially in model countries like the UAE, feeds this pride in Arab identity. As the UAE celebrates Expo 2020 Dubai and its golden jubilee next December, we look to the “future with renewed hopes” just like the Arab youth in this year’s survey.
For his part, Dr. Jihad Azour, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, indicated that the results of the survey reveal the confidence of Arab youth in their future. In this regard, he said: “The survey constitutes a call to action for decision-makers to examine the impact of its findings on government policies, including areas of common ground and areas where data differ. In order to achieve the aspirations of Arab youth, it is necessary to increase the level of financial inclusion, provide opportunities for concessional financing for young entrepreneurs, provide them with an appropriate work environment, and reduce as much as possible the red tape and state interference in economic management. We also need a new social contract that focuses primarily on protecting Citizen’s interests.
Veteran Saudi journalist Khaled Al-Maeena highlighted the value of the survey’s data, saying: “In a region where accurate information is difficult to obtain, these results provide an in-depth look at the mentality of Arab youth who live in societies governed by tribal and often patriarchal authority, and therefore they are in dire need.” To an environment that allows them to express their own vision and enables them to pursue it, and they want their voices to reach decision centers as stakeholders and not just spectators, they are ultimately the future of the region.”
For his part, Faisal Al Yafei, journalist and partner at the UK-based strategic consultancy agency Hildebrand Nord, said: “These findings present an opportunity for decision makers and policy makers to identify priorities on which to focus. The Arab youth are the promising generation, and we must provide the appropriate structures to achieve their aspirations.
Emphasizing the positive spirit revealed by the results of the survey, Dania Khaled Al Maena, CEO of Al Oula Association in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, said: “The title of the poll (The Future with Renewed Hopes) seems very motivating, as it reflects the attitudes of Arab youth who have become more Optimism and enthusiasm about the future, a feeling we see on the ground in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Young people are more inclined to innovate.”