Thursday, August 25, 2011

Will there be any jobs for Libya's youth once "rebellion" ends?

The pictures in the news are full of joyful Libyans celebrating the apparent near-end of a 42-year dictatorship. They hold signs thanking President Obama and other NATO leaders, whose smart strategy let the Libyans own their success while heading off a potential bloodbath. But pro-American sentiment is not the only striking thing about these images. Equally arresting is how young everyone seems to be.

That's no illusion. In fact, about a third of Libya's population is under the age of 15, more than half are under 30, and over a fifth of the country is unemployed. Hence if the revolution is going to succeed, Libya needs jobs.

Economics is less sexy to talk about than war. But while the National Transitional Council faces a hard political road uniting a country of fractured tribes, it faces an equally tough economic reality. A country with large numbers of unemployed youths -- especially young men -- won't be stable for long. more