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Invest more in our youth - and make a difference: Alghanim

The eyes of the business, political and developed world were focused on the Swiss town of Davos recently when leaders in each of these fields gathered for the annual World Economic Forum. I was fortunate enough to attend this impactful gathering and participate in various discussions addressing issues which we all need to have on our radar screens here in Kuwait and beyond: Youth unemployment, reforms in education, and frontier markets. Here’s why these three issues are so important for us.  First, the Arab world has some of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Second, almost 65% of our population is below the age of 25. These numbers are alarming.


It’s time now for us to create a common understanding of the youth unemployment challenge and find ways to explore policy interventions to increase the number of youth employed in the private sector. As CEO of Alghanim Industries, it’s something I am fully committed to doing as I look to build a more robust economic future for our youth. We cannot effectively create a more prosperous society for the next generation without securing social stability and that cannot be achieved without having young Kuwaitis participate in private sector jobs.

To participate in private sector jobs, we need to rethink education and address key skills needed by our youth to succeed in a competitive environment. We need to engage educators in a dialog and explain the need to invest in training to develop relevant competencies required by the private sector. I have seen how this is possible in my role at Injaz, which mentors emerging youth across the MENA region to develop business skills and teach students about entrepreneurship. Simply put, talent underpins everything.

People are the platform for growth, industrialization, and competitiveness. So how do we go about making this happen? Let’s have some facts speak for themselves. For instance, corporate giving to global health is sixteen times what it is to global education. Shouldn’t we all think about investing more in our youth so their futures are launched from a more solid educational and job relevant background? Knowledge is power.  Our world today is more connected than ever. We are living in a so called “24/7” world, but a world where we are more informed than ever before. Yet therein lies our challenge.

As a Kuwaiti, I plan to rise to this challenge, invest more in our youth, encourage entrepreneurship and participate in making education more relevant. I strongly believe that a competitive labor force will also encourage more competition in the private sector, which in turn will make our private sector firms stronger and prepare us for global competition in an innovation driven economy. It’s time we all started to make a difference, have an impact, and all emerge as leaders.
 

By Omar K. Alghanim
CEO, Alghanim Industries and Chairman, Gulf Bank


By: Omar K. Alghanim

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