IMF Holds Middle East Youth Dialogue Roundtable in Cairo

Press Release
March 7, 2010

Staff of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today held the third in a series of roundtable discussions with students from the Middle East and North Africa, exchanging views with undergraduates students from Cairo University on the economic policy challenges facing Egypt and the region.

The roundtable was conducted under the auspices of the IMF Youth Dialog, an initiative sponsored by the IMF that seeks the views of the next generation of the region’s leaders. The objective of the initiative is to work with university students to gain their perspectives on their economic future and to contribute to the evolution of their views on the policy measures that will be needed to secure sustainable economic growth in the Middle East. A particular focus of the initiative is youth employment in the region, whose rate of youth joblessness is among the highest in the world.

“Cairo is, of course, one of the great centers of learning in the Middle East, so it was essential that we include Cairo University in the this series of roundtables,” said Saade Chami, Director of the Middle East Technical Assistance Center (Metac), a Beirut-based collaboration of the IMF and bilateral and multilateral donors that provides technical assistance in macroeconomic and financial management to countries in the region. “As was the case with our previous roundtables, it was very clear that the students were deeply engaged with understanding the economic challenges facing the Middle East.”

The students gave their views on the pressing economic problems in the region in the wake of the global financial crisis. They also discussed the role the IMF can play in helping to address these issues, including the challenge of providing employment opportunities for millions of young people who have entered the workforce in recent years, or who will be seeking employment over the next decade.

The first two roundtables in the IMF Youth Dialog were held at the Lahore School of Economics in Pakistan, and the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. The IMF will hold similar events with students from universities in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates throughout March 2010. The roundtable discussions will be followed by other events to continue and deepen the dialog. In addition, the Youth Dialogue has an online dimension with a website where visitors can interact and post their thoughts:

“The IMF believes that it is essential to reach out to new audiences that have a strong stake in the future,” said Jeremy Mark, IMF Deputy Chief of Public Affairs. “University students will soon move into the mainstream of their societies, and they have well-articulated views that should be part of the public debate on crucial economic issues.”


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