Youth and Social Entrepreneurship in Lebanon

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Youth and Social Entrepreneurship in Lebanon


Text by: Sally Hammoud


Category: Civic Engagement


Lebanon may be officially classed as an upper-middle-income country by the international community, but it lags far behind other countries of a similar status. Serious deficiencies in the dynamics of the labor market—where youth unemployment is almost 40 percent, and women account for less than 25 percent of the workforce—are largely to blame.
It is hard to get a clear picture of unemployment in Lebanon. Statistics on unemployment are notoriously inaccurate, with official numbers putting the level of unemployment in 2018 at just 10 percent. Unofficial figures frequently reported in the media, however, put the level of unemployment at 25 percent. And it is the Lebanese youth who are most likely to be affected; finding job opportunities is challenging due to high competition and the unstable economic situation.
Lebanese youth are highly educated, with a large number of young people graduating from universities with higher degrees, such as a masters or a PhD. Yet, some reports say that an average of one Lebanese youth in three is unemployed.
One solution for tackling this high level of youth unemployment would be to equip young people with the skills they need to become impact entrepreneurs. Social Entrepreneurship has the potential to help countries achieve both internal and external targets. Several of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including sustainable education and environment, and the eradication of poverty, could all be benefited by social entrepreneurship. In Lebanon's case, there are several intersecting opportunities that could be taken up by civil society organizations, schools, and universities, along with the government and the private sector, to establish proactive strategies to stop the brain drain and bolster the country's economy.
There is a huge need to equip the next generation with the skills needed to bring about sustainable growth. Strategies to do so should go beyond education, focusing also on building capacity to provide youths with labor market opportunities. This need is becoming more urgent by the day, equal to the need for education, to help current and future generations get through difficult times and weather massive economic, social, and political challenges.
Youth empowerment is essential—at its core, it is the incubation of human potential. By empowering Lebanon's youth, we will bring considerable economic, social, cultural, and human benefits to our country at all levels.