Mena youth ‘optimistic’ about prospects
Doha, February 12, 2014
Eight out of 10 young people in the Mena region are optimistic about their prospects in the coming year, although 45 per cent of employed young people are not doing the work they would like to do, said a new study.
The new online survey, ‘New Horizons: Young, Arab and Connected,’ was commissioned by Ooredoo to provide a snapshot into the digital attitudes and aspirations of young people across the Mena region.
It surveyed more than 10,500 young adults in 17 countries across the region and found that nine in 10 young Mena citizens believed that access to the Internet and mobile digital technology can help them realise their personal aspirations for employment, entrepreneurial opportunities, education, banking and healthcare.
About 91 per cent also believed that technology is the basis of a modern, forward-thinking and functioning society, but that its potential as an economic tool has not yet been realised for young people across the region, said the study.
More than 80 per cent of youth said the Internet enables them to continue their education beyond what is possible in their country.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, chairman, Ooredoo, said: “Young people in the Mena region have embraced technology as a means to transform their lives. This research shows that young people remain optimistic despite the challenges they face and they are using technology to proactively seek out new opportunities for self-development.
“Companies, governments and organisations need to recognise this creative spark, and find new ways to nurture it, so that we receive the full benefit of young people’s contribution to our societies.”
Despite two-thirds of Internet users currently being men, the report highlighted the level of encouragement for women to play a more equal role with 72 per cent of men and 77 per cent of women agreeing that women should be given equal business opportunities.
The report identified the financial impact of differences in income across a broad cross-section of countries. While most respondents claim to have enough or ample financial resources to make ends meet, 20 per cent of respondents claim their households do not have enough money for their basic needs.
Even in the most depressed economies, the Internet emerged as a key factor for young people in terms of nurturing creative talent as an educational platform and helping prepare young people for a life in business.
The study got an insight on the changing patterns of behaviour online among young Arab nationals. While more than a quarter of time online is spent playing games and entertainment, there was evidence to suggest that increasingly young people are using Internet access to improve their life opportunities.
About 18 per cent of the time on the Internet is used to communicate, followed by 16 per cent for learning, education or training, 15 per cent on work activities and 12 per cent looking for jobs and other employment opportunities, according to the report.
It also showed that young Arabs appeared to prioritise speed over access restrictions, new products and customer service, with 70 per cent of youth considering the speed of the Internet as the primary consideration when selecting a provider.
The use of smartphones has exceeded the use of non-Internet connected mobile phones among regional youth overall, with 90 per cent of them with access to a shared device, it said.
About 91 per cent of respondents believed the Internet can nurture their entrepreneurial potential, with 83 per cent expressing a desire to have their own company and 66 per cent believing the Internet can help source funding.
However, among the potential challenges identified by respondents are the legal hurdles of establishment of a company in their respective countries. - TradeArabia News Service