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Countries of the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia region face a myriad of social, economic and political challenges that have stalled their structural and rural transformation processes. The region has the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. Weak education systems are failing to provide youth, especially in rural areas, with the skills they need to compete in a global economy. The resulting high rates of joblessness, unemployment and informal work have encouraged rural youth to migrate to urban areas and abroad in search of better opportunities. This study reviews the opportunities and challenges facing rural youth in the region and suggests a number of programmes and policy priorities that governments can take into consideration.


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