The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, did not only spread the spark of revolution and trigger the Arab spring, but also unveiled the suffering of the youth that represent 60 percent of the Maghreb population. Tens of thousands of young people are jobless, and only the governments bear the responsibility of their unemployment.
The flames of Bouazizi’s burning body spread from Tunisia to reach the shores of Algeria and Morocco, where the same conditions prevail. Young people spend half their lives in the classroom, only to find themselves after graduation selling vegetables or tobacco, or leaning on the walls of their neighborhoods while awaiting an opportunity that may never come.
While Maghreb governments are boasting about slogans related to creating jobs for their youth, especially university graduates, the immigration office in the French Ministry of the Interior announced the shocking fact that there are 66,000 Algerian graduates with “excellent” grades in France.
Maghreb countries are the only losers on this front, because they spend billions on teaching young people, then neglect their responsibility to provide them with jobs that preserve their dignity, despite having several options to offer employment opportunities, or at least reduce the unemployment rate. Creating jobs should be among the priorities of Maghreb governments.
First of all, we should reduce and regulate foreign labor in Maghreb countries, so that priority is given to nationals. If a local applicant has the same degree as a foreign candidate, then why would the latter have a greater chance to get the job?
If preference is given to candidates with experience, how will an engineer for example earn experience if he is never hired? The solution is to encourage new graduates to approach professional life and the practical field, and enable the youth to prove their abilities and their worthiness of employment.
The state should also encourage the youth by giving them micro-loans to help them start their own businesses, and create considerable job opportunities for other young people. This strategy is applied in Algeria, but it remains limited and does not satisfy the real needs of young people.
Moreover, the state ought to encourage the private sector that can provide good jobs in coordination with the public sector.
Given all these facts, we need to carry field studies about the real needs of the market. Studies and field investigations guide young people to the jobs that are really needed. Besides, compatibility between education and the real needs of the labor market will contribute to getting rid of the inertia of the job market in the Maghreb, even if it will not totally solve the problem.
Self-immolation is a unique phenomenon that started spreading last year… more
Self-immolation has undeniably become the only available option for Maghreb… more
Ever since Bouazizi set himself ablaze in Tunisia in December… more