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Posted On: 28 July 2008 07:58 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Joblessness accounts for .57% loss in GDP

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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Countries in the region, including Qatar is paying a heavy price for not utilising resources, including human resources, efficiently. The less than optimum contribution of youth the so-called ‘youth exclusion’ is a drain on the economy. For instance, Qatar loses 0.57 percent of its GDP to joblessness among the youth and 0.13 percent of GDP to unemployment, says a recently released Middle East Youth Initiative Working Paper. The study, the first of its kind in the region, explores the costs associated with 'youth exclusion' in relation to youth unemployment, youth joblessness, school dropouts, adolescent pregnancy and youth migration. The report was jointly prepared by the Washington-based Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings Institution and the Dubai School of Government. The report put the total cost of youth unemployment in Qatar at QR193.47m ($42.52m) and in Saudi Arabia at $3.2bn. In the whole of Middle East, Morocco has the highest figure of $7.76bn. The cost of youth joblessness in Qatar would come to an estimated QR825.64m, 0.57 percent of GDP. The cost of youth unemployment is 0.13 percent. Of this, the rate attributed to males is 0.10 percent. In Saudi Arabia the total cost of youth unemployment is 1.22 percent of GDP. On adolescent pregnancy and young mothers, the report says that average nuptial age in Middle East has risen considerably in recent years. And because non-marital pregnancies are relatively rare in the region, adolescent pregnancy is not a policy problem unlike many other parts of the world. However, young marriage remains a problem in rural areas and countries like Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Syria and Yemen. The report says that these countries have the highest adolescent fertility rates and the highest proportion of young women who gave birth before age 18. The study puts the total cost of adolescent pregnancy per year in Qatar at an estimated QR9.94m. The total lifetime cost of adolescent pregnancy in the country is put at QR386.57m. Compared to Qatar, Saudi Arabia has a higher cost of adolescent pregnancy. Its total cost of adolescent pregnancy per year is an estimated $318.29m and lifetime cost is $12.85bn. In GCC, Bahrain bears the lowest cost due to adolescent pregnancy. Its total cost of adolescent pregnancy per year is $2.1m and lifetime cost is $81.38m. The results have thrown up some interesting facts about the region. The study found that resource endowments do not really affect a country's rank. For instance, Morocco and Yemen are close in their ranks while they have different resources at their disposal and countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the resource-rich states, are lower in ranking. “This clearly demonstrates that relative performance in achieving youth inclusion is mostly connected with the efficiency by which countries use their resources to obtain better outcomes,” the report says. The document argues that quantifying the country-specific estimates of costs of youth exclusion is extremely important for making a case for investing in youth as an economically sound approach for Middle Eastern governments. The Youth Initiative Working Paper states that states could decrease youth exclusion by at least 60 percent if they were to use available resources more efficiently. The Pen