The latest Arab Youth Survey has revealed a shocking picture: Nearly half of the 200 million young Arabs in the region have thought of leaving their countries because of government corruption and struggling economies. And the UAE’s Vice-President feels their pain.
“It is painful that half of our Arab wealth wants to emigrate…It is painful when the Arab youth does not find a homeland, safety and livelihood in his homeland,” His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted on Tuesday, as the findings of the 12th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey were released.
According to the survey, most of the youth who wish to emigrate are from the Levantine states of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Palestinian Territories, while the young nationals of oil-rich Gulf countries were the least inclined to leave.
With the poll indicating that 77 per cent of the youth believe that corruption exists in their governments, Sheikh Mohammed called out the corrupt and assured young Arabs that the crooked shall be held responsible.
“If governments are corrupt, the country will be ruined, its security diminished and its people will want to leave it. Every official will be responsible before God. The story does not end here,” he said in another tweet.
Youth’s country of choice
As the UAE retained its top spot as the country where most Arab youth prefer to live in, Sheikh Mohammed said everyone is welcome to the Emirates.
In the survey, 46 per cent of all young Arabs chose the UAE as their country of choice, followed by the US (33 per cent), Canada (27 per cent), the UK (27 per cent), and Germany (22 per cent).
Sheikh Mohammed said: “We say to them, the UAE is everyone’s country. We have tried to build a successful model and our experience, doors and books will remain open to all.”
The poll also revealed that 52 per cent of the Arab youth would like their nation to follow the example set by the UAE.
Asked specifically what they associated most with the Emirates, the top five factors they cited were safety and security (44 per cent), wide range of work opportunities (36 per cent), generous salary packages (32 per cent), a growing economy (31 per cent) and a good place to raise a family (25 per cent).
For its 12th edition, the ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey polled 4,000 young Arab nationals aged 18 to 24 from 17 Arab states in the Middle East and North Africa with a 50:50 male-female split. The research was conducted in two phases, with the main polling between January 19 and March 3, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the region; and the second, Covid-19 Pulse Survey, between August 18 and 26, conducted in six Arab states.