Remember Mohamed Bouazizi, the street vendor who toppled the decades old dictatorship in Tunisia and sparked revolutions across Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Libya and Yemen? The common impetus for these movements is discontent inspired by a crippling lack of employment and the opportunity for average citizens to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Just as the United States and Europe are focused on creating jobs to reinvigorate their own economic growth, creating jobs must also be the focus of their assistance to the Middle East and North Africa. With a soaring unemployment rate above 10 percent—above 16 percent among women and as high has 25 percent among youth—political and social stability in the Middle East and North Africa will be elusive until there are enough "Just Jobs," or work complete with labor rights including the right to organize and collective bargaining, appropriate remuneration, and economic mobility.
The Middle East and North Africa are undergoing an unprecedented transition that will either yield to free, equal, and stable societies or will be mired in conflict, violence, and instability. Just jobs are the essential ingredient to ensure that this geopolitically significant region embarks on the path to progress. Sabina Dewan outlines five steps that Europe and the United States can take to help foster the creation of just jobs in the region.
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