Human capital, social protection, inequality and migration (Work Package 7)

Social protection schemes in the region suffer from major weaknesses, including the demographic shifts and rampant unemployment, especially among the youth. These challenges seriously hamper the sustainability of these schemes, where they exist. Moreover, the countries of the Middle East and North Africa continue to lag behind their peers in terms of educational attainment of adult population. Integration of women into the labor force is critically low in most countries in the region, despite significant public investment in education and their correlative increase in enrolment and literacy rates. Research undertaken by the World Bank shows household incomes could rise as much as 25% in the region if women participated in the labor force accordingly to their education levels and age structure. Gender equality, education, and integration are the heart of challenges faced by policymakers in the region. This work package will address five main issues:

  • the adequacy and sustainability of social protection schemes; the current state and performance of the educational system;
  • the current and future educational attainment of adult population;
  • the effects on growth and employment of enhancing the use of human capital of women; and,
  • the prospective analysis of the likely future path of human capital endowment in the MED 11 countries.

The major outcome of this exercise will be to give an unprecedented insight into the performance of education in the MED-11 region through an in depth analysis of both the current and future state of education and human capital endowment.

This work package is led by Prof. Alia El Mahdi from the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences of the Cairo University (FEPS) who has a strong track record in research on employment policies in the South Mediterranean region.