All Emirati youth polled said they were confident that their government could ensure economic stability.
The United Arab Emirates continued its leadership in the Arab world in terms of youth confidence in the government’s ability to achieve economic stability and address unemployment, according to the 15th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.
In the meantime, more than three-quarters (78%) of Arab youth in the GCC states say they agree that their voice matters to their leadership, while a full 87% say their government has the right policies to address their most important concerns.
Arab youth across the sample identified unemployment, government corruption, rising living costs, economic instability and climate change among the top concerns facing them and the region. GCC youth expressed strong confidence in their government to address all these issues.
Nearly all (98%) young Emiratis said they were confident of their government’s ability to address unemployment. Youth had a similarly positive outlook in Saudi Arabia (70%), Oman (67%), Kuwait (64%) and Bahrain (61%). Unsurprisingly, only 20% of GCC youth said it would be difficult to find a job in their country.
Young men and women in the GCC also expressed confidence in their government to address corruption. This was the view of 97% of youth in the UAE, 84% in Oman, 82% in Bahrain, 69% in Saudi Arabia and 56% in Kuwait.
Similarly, 98% of Emirati youth said they were confident that their government could manage the rising cost of living, compared with 66% of young Arabs in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, 64% in Oman, and 57% in Kuwait. Only 15% of GCC youth said they struggled to pay their expenses in full, though 16% said they were in debt, with student loans (25%), car loans (15%), marriage loans (11%) and excessive shopping (9%) cited as the main reasons.
Emirati youth said they were confident that their government could manage the rising cost of living.
All Emirati youth polled said they were confident that their government could ensure economic stability; high levels of confidence on economic management were also found in Saudi Arabia (82%), Oman and Kuwait (73% each) and Bahrain (67%). More than half (52%) of GCC youth also said there was no government corruption in their country, although 44% said there was ‘some’ corruption.
Youth in the GCC also trust their government to take action on climate change, with 97% of Emirati youth, 75% of young Saudis, 80% in Oman, 77% in Bahrain and 66% in Kuwait expressing confidence in the climate policies of their leaders. This positivity reflects widespread optimism about the future, with 83% of GCC youth saying their country was going in the right direction.
Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of Arab youth outside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries lack confidence in their government’s ability to tackle their most pressing concerns such as unemployment, corruption, and rising living costs.
More than half (54%) of the total respondents also felt their voice did not matter to their country’s leadership. This is a significant drop of 19 percentage points over 2022 in the number of young Arabs who said their voice matters to their leadership. This feeling of estrangement, primarily driven by young people in North Africa and Levant, is also the most pronounced in five years.
These are some of the key findings of the landmark 15th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, the most comprehensive study of its kind of the Arab world’s largest demographic, its over 200 million youth, by ASDA’A BCW, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading communications consultancy.
ASDA’A BCW commissioned Sixth Factor Consulting, a leading research company, to conduct face-to-face interviews with 3,600 Arab citizens aged 18 to 24 in their home nations from March 27 to April 12, 2023. The largest sample in the survey’s history was equally divided between men and women in 53 cities across a total of 18 Arab states, including for the first time South Sudan. The interviews were conducted in person rather than online to maximise accuracy and to reflect the nuances of Arab youth opinion across the region as much as possible.
This year, the survey’s findings are being released under six themes, with the first, ‘My Global Citizenship’ announced in June. Today, ASDA’A BCW published key insights under the second and third themes: ‘My Politics’ and ‘My Livelihood’, which highlighted a stark contrast in the outlook of young men and women in the Arabian Gulf and those in North Africa and Levant.
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