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Social Protection and Employment

Decent work is essential for a life in dignity, and formal employment is a key for obtaining access to pension funds, health insurance, unemployment support, transfers related to maternity and disability, and other forms of social protection.

In much of the Arab region, statutory social protection systems are hamstrung by a number of factors, including rapid population growth, inadequate fiscal space, and a narrow economic base. The formal labour sector is dwarfed by the informal sector. Social divides (nationals and migrants, females and males, skilled and unskilled workers) and high youth unemployment are added causes for concern. Resource-rich countries can provide broader social protection coverage than others, but even they have trouble extending protection to the informal sector and other marginalized groups.

Throughout the region, policies and labour market programmes that reach beyond the urban middle classes and include more marginalized groups are urgently needed.