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IFC Organizes Education Conference to Boost Vocational Training in MENA

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 2461 4230

Casablanca, Morocco, April 25, 2013—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has brought educators, policymakers, and employers together to find ways to collaborate and build effective partnerships to better improve the skills and employability of Arab youth.

Representatives from regional governments and international businesses and educational institutions will attend the first E4E Initiative for Arab Youth Solutions Marketplace in Marrakesh on April 25 to define their roles, determine best practices, and create partnerships.

The goal is to improve post-secondary education and vocational training in order to supply key sectors— mainly ICT, tourism, healthcare, and construction—with the skilled labor needed to spur economic growth across the Middle East and North Africa.

“Addressing youth unemployment isn’t just about creating jobs,” said Guy Ellena, IFC Director of Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. “We need to ensure that young people have the skills to succeed.”

Regional youth labor force participation rates are among the world’s lowest at around 35 percent, compared to the global average of 52 percent. Youth unemployment results in an annual loss of $40 – $50 billion across the MENA region each year, equivalent to the GDP of Tunisia or Lebanon.

The conference is part of the E4E Initiative for Arab Youth, which aims to provide young people with skills that are relevant to the marketplace by investing in education, engaging stakeholders, and enabling solutions. It builds on the Making Global Connections theme initially developed for IFC’s global private education conference held in Dubai in March 2012.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit

About the E4E Initiative:
The E4E Initiative for Arab Youth, launched in 2011, aims to provide youth with skills that are relevant to the marketplace by investing in education, engaging stakeholders, and enabling solutions so that Arab Youth earn a better future. Through focused IFC Investments and Advisory efforts, the strategy of the E4E Initiative focuses on catalyzing private sector investments in employment driven education; enabling a healthier ecosystem for quality post-secondary education and training; and changing mindsets on the role of the private sector in education and improving the perception of vocational and workforce readiness training as a viable choice for enhancing employment and entrepreneurship prospects in the region. For more information, visit

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