Source: Brookings Institute
Author(s): Adel Abdel Ghafar
Introduction and Context
As the events of the so-called Arab Spring unfolded, a wave of optimism surged through the region. Following the example of their Tunisian counterparts, millions of Egyptians took to the streets in January 2011 chanting “‘ish, hurriyya, ‘adalah ijtima‘iyya,” or bread, freedom, and social justice. This simple yet ingenious chant captured the uprising’s three types of demands: economic, political, and social. Five years later, the attainment of those demands seems more elusive than ever.
A key aspect of the stunted transition in Egypt is the problem of unemployment. Its rate continues to climb and youth between the ages of 15 and 29 are increasingly the most affected. The official unemployment rate currently stands at 12.8 percent, and in the youth bracket it reaches 30 percent.2 It is no surprise that under these conditions the rate of Egyptians legally migrating since 2011 has increased sharply.3 Many Egyptian youth who are unable to migrate legally continue to die as they attempt to illegally cross the Mediterranean to Europe.4
As the events of 2011 have shown, youth unemployment not only has ramifications for the economy, but for the overall stability of the region as well…..
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