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Young Egyptians Increasingly See Their Potential Untapped

Young Egyptians Increasingly See Their Potential Untapped

by Magali Rheault

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Young people in several Arab countries became less likely in 2010 to believe their leadership fully uses their human capital. Young Egyptians' perceptions experienced one of the largest declines: fewer than 3 in 10 15- to 29-year-olds say Egypt's leadership maximizes youth potential, down from almost 4 in 10 in 2009. Young Egyptians have been an important force in ongoing demonstrations calling for the end of President Hosni Mubarak's rule.


Young people's views of how their respective country's leadership taps their talents also fell significantly in Jordan, Sudan, and Iraq. In late January, demonstrators took to the streets in Jordan to demand political and economic reforms, which led to the dismissal of the government's cabinet. Mauritania is the only country where young people became statistically more likely last year to believe their country's leaders maximize their potential.

In all other countries surveyed, the year-over-year change as to whether leaders harness young people's human capital is not statistically significant. Although data for 2010 are not available in all countries, it is worth noting that young citizens of the richest Arab League states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) are among the most likely to say their country leaders maximize their potential.

As policymakers face the challenges of creating jobs across Arab countries, young people's views about how leaders tap their potential reinforce the need to engage young Arabs as vital partners in the economic growth of their societies. The top predictor of their perception that leaders maximize their potential across the region is young people's satisfaction with efforts to increase the number of quality jobs. The other top two predictors are young Arabs' belief that children in their countries are treated with respect and dignity and that the government makes business paperwork easy enough for aspiring entrepreneurs. Previous Gallup research has shown that the belief that children are treated with respect strongly correlates with many economic and entrepreneurship measures. Such findings underscore the strong link between children's status and job-creation initiatives in building prosperous and stable societies.

These results are based on the latest research to appear in the fourth edition of "The Silatech Index: Voices of Young Arabs," which will be published in April. The Silatech Index report, prepared in partnership with Gallup, measures and analyzes young Arabs' attitudes with respect to their hopes and desires, human capital, work, entrepreneurship, and obstacles to success.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact or call 202.715.3030.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face and phone interviews with more than 16,000 country nationals, aged 15 to 29, conducted between February and November in 2010 and between February and October in 2009 in 20 countries that are members of the League of Arab States and the Somaliland region. For results based on the total sample of national youth, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranged from a low of ±3.3 percentage points in the Somaliland region to a high of ± 6.9 percentage points in Qatar in 2010. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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