A small step for science, a giant leap for unemployed youth

Financial Inclusion

A small step for science, a giant leap for unemployed youth

A young women working the fields in Egypt Photo: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfamnovib/6257022866/sizes/m/in/photostream/”> oxfamnovib (Flickr)</a>.
A young women working the fields in Egypt Photo: oxfamnovib (Flickr).

As the youth unemployment rate closes in on 25 percent in the Middle East, young people are looking for jobs, and governments are looking for innovative ways to create them. Science could be a yet unexplored solution to youth unemployment in Egypt and Tunisia.

A new project in the two nations, launched this summer and reported on by the Science and Development Network, puts together teams of young researchers to evaluate businesses “that depend on scientific innovation and inventions.”

The youth researchers, who receive wages from their governments, report back with two bodies of information: The first part evaluates how successful business ventures use scientific innovations. The second examines where business opportunities lie. Current innovations range from agricultural waste solutions to new animal breeds better adapted to the environment. Based on these evaluations, the governments jointly provides funds to help the innovations with the most potential succeed and help start-up projects based on opportunities the teams identify.

A component of the project trains potential entrepreneurs in start-up finance, replicating innovations and business management. Egypt and Tunisia are hoping youth-run, scientifically innovative businesses will help solve unemployment, environmental, and agricultural issues.

Related: New model for Middle East economic practices starts with Tunisia, Libya

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