Press Releases

Call to Action by IFC, Islamic Development Bank on Realizing Arab Youth Potential

In Washington, D.C:
Ludi Joseph, IFC
Phone: (202) 473-7700

In Jeddah:

Mustafa Wadi, Islamic Development Bank

Phone: +966 646-6491


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa, IFC
Phone: +0020 2 461 9150

Washington, D.C./ Jeddah, Saudi Arabia/ Cairo, Egypt, April 13, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Islamic Development Bank released a report today that calls for urgent action to tackle the unemployment challenges faced by Arab youth. In a region with the world’s highest youth joblessness rate, millions are out of work because the education they receive leaves them unprepared for the marketplace.

The report, Education for Employment: Realizing Arab Youth Potential, provides a roadmap and a way forward. It shows that the private sector can be a powerful force for positive change by complementing public efforts to ensure that the region’s youth gain the right training and skills for the jobs being created. The solution requires a comprehensive remedy and the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders: governments, employers, education providers, civil society, and students.

The report outlines the views of multiple stakeholders toward education for employment, or e4e. It identifies investment opportunities for the private sector and practical, effective e4e models. The need for e4e is vast—25 percent of youth in the region are unemployed, costing the region about $50 billion each year. The region also needs better education standards, more access to finance for students, and stronger “matchmaking” between students and potential employers.

IFC and the Islamic Development Bank Group will work with partners to mobilize $1.5 billion to $2 billion from the regional and international community to be invested in e4e programs in the Arab World over the next five years.

“IFC and the Islamic Development Bank are calling on all stakeholders to act decisively in designing appropriate e4e solutions," said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO. "By implementing a robust e4e initiative, the energy of the region’s young people and the dynamism of its private sector can be brought together to build a brighter social and economic future for all.”

“We are ready to support the region in designing e4e solutions, and we expect and trust that other stakeholders will join us”, said Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ali, Islamic Development Bank President. “We must act jointly. We must act now. The future of the region depends on it.”

About Islamic Development Bank

The Islamic Development Bank is a development organization providing Shari’ah-compatible funding and technical assistance to the Islamic world. In line with its overall objectives of fostering economic development and social progress, it finances projects and programs in both public and private sectors in member countries by investing in economic and social infrastructure, providing technical assistance, and promoting foreign trade. The bank also assists Muslim communities in non-member countries and undertakes research studies in Islamic economics and banking. For more information, visit

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit