Bringing stability to Arab counties is a greater priority than promoting democracy, according to a survey of 3,500 young people across 16 countries in the Middle East and north Africa.
More than half of respondents agreed that efforts to support democracy were less of a priority, the poll of 18-24 year olds by Asda’a Burson Marsteller showed. Just over a quarter of people disagreed.
The finding marks a shift in sentiment regarding the success of the Arab Spring, with the proportion of young people considering the movement positive for the Arab world having dropped to 36% from 72% in 2012.
The rise of ISIL was identified as the biggest challenge facing the Middle East, with difficult economic conditions and unemployment being seen as the primary driver of the group’s recruitment success.
The survey also found that young people believe:
- Religion plays too big of a role in the Middle East and the Sunni-Shia divide is a significant driver of unrest.
- Leaders should do more to improve the personal freedom and human rights of citizens, particularly women.
- The United Arab Emirates is the best country to live in.
Full survey in www.arabyouthsurvey.com
Main picture: Unemployed graduates take part in a demonstration to demand the government provide them with job opportunities in Tunis, Tunisia April 9, 2016. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi