UK aid’s approach to youth employment in the Middle East and North Africa

A review assessing the relevance and effectiveness of UK aid programmes in promoting employment opportunities for young people across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Score: Amber/Red
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 8 July 2021
  3. Type: Full review
  4. Subject: Cross-government aid spend, Livelihoods and social protection
  5. Assessment: Amber/Red
  6. Location: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey
  7. Lead commissioner: Tarek Rouchdy
  8. SDGs covered:Gender equality, Decent work and economic growth

International Development Committee

A hearing is held by Parliament’s International Development Committee (IDC) or their ICAI sub-committee for most ICAI reviews.

The IDC hearing for this review took place in two parts. Part 1 with ICAI is available to watch online. You can also watch part 2 with the government online.

ICAI follow-up

Approximately one year after we publish our reports, we follow up on the steps the government has taken in response to our recommendations. This process is a key link in the accountability chain, providing Parliament and the public with an account of how well government departments have responded to ICAI reviews.

During our follow-up process, we found there was an inadequate response to this review as FCDO was only able to identify tangible actions in relation to three of the five recommendations. These actions were largely modest in nature and some were not directly motivated by our review. The limited response seems to have been driven by FCDO’s continued stance that it does not have an explicit youth employment strategy, as well as ongoing challenges facing the department, especially from the merger, aid budget reductions and staff changes.

Read the follow-up review.

Further follow-up

We returned to this review as an outstanding issue in 2023. Overall we found that, despite some good small examples of work in countries to improve the impact of employment-related programming, there remain significant gaps and weaknesses in the government’s response.

We found substantive action had been taken only in relation to recommendation 3, and therefore comprehensive work has not been done to address most of our recommendations. We therefore concluded that FCDO’s response to this review’s overall recommendations is inadequate.

We did not see reason to believe that a further follow-up in 2024 would see further progress, not least because FCDO seems to have no plans to return to DFID’s former leading role in work on economic development and employment.

Read the further follow-up review.



Published 20 October 2020

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 8 July 2021

Government response

Published 19 August 2021

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 24 November 2021

ICAI follow-up

Published 30 June 2022

Further follow-up

Published 18 July 2023