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MENA at risk of social unrest due to rising unemployment: ILO

International Labour Organisation (ILO) forecasts 8.8 percent unemployment in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by 2015, putting region at risk of rising social unrest

Ahram Online, Monday 3 Jun 2013
(Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Views: 1970

The number of unemployed in the Middle East is expected to climb from 8.3 percent in 2013 to 8.8 percent in 2015, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO)'s 'World of Work' report for 2013, released on Tuesday.

Citing "a deceleration of growth projected for most of the African region," the ILO expected unemployment in North Africa to rise by 4.3 percent to reach 8 percent by 2015.

The global unemployment rate, meanwhile, is expected to reach 6 percent this year, asserted the ILO, which expects the total number of unemployed to reach 205 million worldwide by 2014.

The report places the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as the fifth most at risk of social unrest, including labour strikes and street protests, which in the MENA region increased by 14 percent between 2006 and 2008 and "remained high afterwards."

"While growth prospects have improved in this region since the Arab spring, political struggles continue in many countries, which tends to be manifested in people’s perception of freedom," read the report, which did not specify the current percentage of risk of social unrest in the region.

An ILO official told Ahram Online that the omission was due to the lack of sufficient data provided to the organisation by countries of the region.

Among the EU-27 countries, the risk of unrest stemming from social discontent increased from 34 percent in 2006/2007 to 46 percent in 2011/2012, with the most vulnerable nations being Greece, Cyprus Italy, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Spain and Portugal.

"This increase in the risk of unrest in the European Union is likely to be due to the policy responses to the ongoing sovereign debt crisis and their impacts on people’s lives and perceptions of well-being," the ILO report contended.

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