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Status: Active
  • Countries Targeted

    Countries of the southern Mediterranean.



    CMI, World Bank, Anna Lindh Foundation.


    Regional Context

    The decision of the CMI’s Oversight Committee in June 2015 to focus on youth constituted a fundamental shift in the CMI’s priorities. Since then, the CMI has placed youth at the center of its work by adopting it as an overarching theme.


    Among the many challenges Mediterranean countries are facing, youth inclusion is by far the most critical, complex and longstanding social issue. While youth make up a large share of the population, with more than 30% in most southern Mediterranean countries, members of this demographic group face various types of adversity and exclusion. Several recent studies and polls have shown that youth are disenchanted and in despair. They live a dramatic rupture from the state and policy makers, who are seen as unresponsive to their concerns and needs. They have a sense of social injustice, and lack of dignity. As such, there is a high risk of seeing increasing numbers of Mediterranean young people fall prey to delinquency, radicalism, violent militancy and illegal migration. This is not only a threat to economic development, but also to political stability.



    The work program is structured around two pillars:

    • Promoting opportunities for young people to express themselves: facilitate dialogue and engagement to connect youth at local, national and regional levels from across the Mediterranean and enable them to build and express powerful narratives.
    • Promoting economic opportunities: boost the entrepreneurial culture and promote innovation spaces.


    Selected Outcomes

    • Enabling women entrepreneurs for resilient cities: Three female-led teams from Beirut and Cairo were the winners of the Grand Finale of the “Women for Resilient Cities Start-up Competition” organized by the World Bank and the CMI, (Marseille, 11 September 2015). The event brought together seven finalist teams along with business incubators and local stakeholders from across the MENA region, in addition to World Bank partners. Finalists pitched their business proposals in front of the selection committee, which then selected the ventures that best supported urban resilience and offered the winning teams a year of business support services. The competition contributes to unlocking the potential for self-employment opportunities of women in MENA, of whom only 25% participate in the labor market. This is particularly relevant in a region where 62% of the population live in cities, and where the region’s rapid urbanization increases the exposure of people and economic assets to disaster events.

    • Youth and decision makers: Frank talk on concrete obstacles facing entrepreneurs: In an effort to bridge the gap between youth and decision makers, and with the objective of including the youth perspective and their concerns and priorities in the design of CMI activities, four young entrepreneurs from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia steered a discussion with high-level representatives from governments and development institutions on the challenges facing young social enterprises in the MENA region. The venue was the 7th CMI annual meeting (Marseille, France, 30 November, 2015).
    • Engaging MENA youth in shaping its own future: The World Bank Group and the CMI invited a group of young opinion-leaders to weigh in on the barriers that youth face in their countries. Thirty young influencers, activists, entrepreneurs, and networkers, gathered to brainstorm about the region’s challenges, discuss strategic priorities for youth engagement and identify opportunities to foster solutions for now and the future. This is one of the preliminary steps in shaping the CMI’s work on its youth agenda, notably on ways to give youth a voice and increase their opportunities.