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Not your average brain drain

Not your average brain drain

The Arab World continues to suffer from staggering unemployment rates. Are regional governments doing enough to curb the region’s brain drain?


December 8, 2009 10:28 by

Though the number of Arab professionals and skilled workers emigrating from countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon to the Gulf has fallen significantly, from 72 percent in 1975 and 31 percent in 1990 to 25 percent in the past few years, the potential impact of the financial crisis could mean an impact on these countries’ rise in unemployment.

It is not surprising, therefore, that young educated Arabs leave their home countries for jobs abroad. Most countries in the Middle East do not offer comprehensive social security systems, and wages are so low in countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories that people are forced to leave.

If concrete, systematic changes are not made in the entire region, it is difficult to predict positive growth in any country. As a retired Human Resources professional Saeed Al Khabaz said, “With an average jobless rate in some regions of 25 percent, the huge numbers of unemployment in the Arab world is creating all kinds of social problems, and no community can continue to survive this way.”

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