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

Read the approach paper

Our approach

The range of potential interventions to address youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is broad. We identified 115 programmes with a total value of over £2.4 billion from the UK’s aid portfolio in the region that include a youth employment element within the scope of this review.

The portfolio under review included programmes where youth employment is a direct objective, or where youth employment is a component of other objectives, such as in programmes that promote stability or support refugee populations.

The portfolio covers Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), Syria, Turkey, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, and includes programming since the publication of the 2015 UK aid strategy.

Review questions

We are seeking to answer the following review questions:

  1. Relevance: Is the UK’s approach to promoting youth employment in MENA relevant to needs?
  2. Coherence: How coherent is UK aid’s approach to promoting youth employment?
  3. Effectiveness: How effective is the UK’s support to youth employment in MENA?




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