According to the World Bank, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will need to create some 80 million new jobs in the next two decades. From the humanitarian and from the environmental point of view it is one of the main global challenges we face.
Fail to provide sustainable solutions will submerge the already extremely complex international relations into a fruitless demagogic debate on whether migration is a privilege or a right.
It is an opportunity, both for the one migrating as well as for the country where one migrates. The lost is on the side of the country of origin that sees its most motivated, qualified, resourceful and adventurous people depart.
Migration should be a free choice, not an imposition through violence that is increasing at the same proportion as the pressure to control the remaining natural resources, extracted from the Middle East.
Eleven out of twenty two countries in the region are living in the war and/or terror situation. This has a direct correlation with the fact that the military budget spending per capita has reached 65%, as Moises Naim reveals in El País. The same tendency is followed among World’s most powerful countries. USA that ‘seeks $54bn increase’ in military budget’ is followed immediately by China’s 7% increase . These are the reminiscences of the Cold War thinking that launched neoliberal global domination and the corresponding financial, economic, environmental and humanitarian crisis that resoulted out of its greedy mentality.
The military spending in MENA contrast greatly with the education spending that according to government sources is around 16%. Curiously there is no data for most of the MENA countries and my fear is that this number would be substantially lower if Syria, Iraq or Yemen data would have been available.
What triggers me is to think: if it’s about the money than why not seeing other opportunities to make money?
Promoting solar energy and other sustainable means of energy production as a remarkable source of employment proven to be highly efficient and beneficial for so many developed countries, combined with the vision of education market in MENA as a huge opportunity provides a window of hope to step away from the petrodollar global policy towards a new model of long term sustainable global growth.
Education and employment are not a privilege they are a right. A right that must be respected globally and promoted by wise leaders who understand their position as a privilege to make a better World and not a right to make favours to the already overprivileged. It is a privilege to make history and not money.