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Washington, D.C./ Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, January 18, 2011
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Islamic Development Bank have signed an agreement to lead an initiative that will engage the private sector to create new opportunities for employment-based education and enhance job market skills for Arab youth.
Due in part to an imbalance between high regional population growth and poor economic performance, Arab youth face the highest unemployment rate compared to other developing regions. According to the International Labour Organization’s 2010 report, Arab countries must create more than 50 million jobs in the next decade to stabilize employment.
Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Vice President for Global Industries, said, “The IFC-Islamic Development Bank initiative will demonstrate how private education can address the gaps between labor needs and education outcomes and identify regulatory issues and areas for policy change, thereby increasing job opportunities and spurring economic growth.”
Birama Sidibe, Vice President Operations, Islamic Development Bank, said, “Education for Employment will provide a roadmap to governments, multilateral organizations, and other key players and help improve the private sector’s ability to finance and provide affordable, high-quality, employment-driven education, and prevent the outward migration of highly skilled graduates.”
In addition to regional analysis, country-specific case studies examining a range of issues, including labor market needs, education service provision, and barriers to private sector engagement, will be produced. A report on the initiative, to be released April 2011, will include existing research and new regional studies.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit
About Islamic Development Bank
The Islamic Development Bank is a development organization providing shari’ah-compatible funding and technical assistance to the Islamic world. In line with its overall objectives of fostering economic development and social progress, it finances projects and programs in both public and private sectors in member countries by investing in economic and social infrastructure, providing technical assistance, and promoting foreign trade. The bank also assists Muslim communities in non-member countries and undertakes research studies in Islamic economics and banking. For more information, visit
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