Ahmed Khudair Hussein-director of the Department of social studies at Al Bayan Center for studies and planning.
The economic determinants facing Iraqi youth are deepening to exacerbate political and social instability, heavy dependence on the economy of the supplier of oil revenues, inequality, distributive justice, misalignment between education outputs and the labor market, high unemployment rates, especially among university graduates, the growth of administrative and financial corruption, the suffering of workers from the lack of coverage of social welfare and Social Security, as well as the high price of the dollar against the Iraqi dinar, with the absence of structural reforms for two decades.
This resulted in the impoverishment of a large segment of the Iraqi people, the youth fell victim, which was reflected in the economic growth rates, the decline in investment and employment, the lack of job opportunities for young people, and the provision of protection and support for entrepreneurial youth, and the question that the paper tries to answer: What are the economic challenges facing young people in Iraq What solutions and policies are possible to address them, especially under a new government facing complex challenges and crises (social, health, and political), and to study this problem, rely on official and unofficial data and indicators related to the subject.
First: the business environment
The reports issued by the World Bank regarding the reality of business performance in the world have revealed the deterioration of Iraq’s position in the relevant indicators, and because progress or decline in these indicators represents a criterion for the extent of improvement in the investment environment for the private sector (local and foreign). This decline is a shock to those who are thinking about the possibility of exploiting the available or promising opportunities in the Iraqi economy. This can be illustrated by the following:
Iraq ranks 172nd out of 190 countries in the Doing Business Report issued by the World Bank (2020), and it is the worst ranking compared to the arithmetic average at the regional level.
The Iraqi economy ranks (152) out of (190) economies; to start establishing a business in it, it takes about (26.5) days for an Iraqi citizen to be able to establish a small or medium-sized company (limited liability), and the minimum cost of establishment is about (14.6%) of the total individual income of a citizen. (Thus, Iraq ranked lower than other countries in the MENA region in terms of total time, cost, and the average number of procedures).
Iraq has been ranked as one of the most difficult countries to complete tax returns, as Iraq lacks developed systems and infrastructure in this area, which makes tax compliance inherently more difficult in Iraq than elsewhere.
Iraq ranked (147) globally (out of 190 countries) in the application of the terms of employment contracts.
The Iraqi economy ranked 186th out of 190 economies in terms of easy access to financial resources (access to credit), which clearly indicates that there are significant obstacles to the process of financing projects.
The economic barriers facing young people are getting worse; as a result of unclear and ineffective investment procedures, the status of companies and emerging markets, lack of infrastructure, administrative failures and bureaucratic barriers to investment, limited government programs towards young people, and the problem of the emerging increase in the number of young people, about (60%) of the Iraqi people is under the age of (25), and many of them are unemployed, or at least not involved in the labor market, and the lack of skills, the number of qualified young people is probably insufficient to take up technical jobs if the demand for them increases, and employment is the main issue in the lives of young people because it provides the tools The aggravation of the phenomenon of lack of job opportunities, an economic environment lacking controls and codes of conduct, economic security, and the investor’s lack of freedom from the horror of risk, which led to the creation of an inappropriate environment in the labor market, and the results of the bully and Youth Survey indicated that many reasons called for individuals to work.