Furthering Financial Inclusion in the Middle East through Entrepreneurship

We just announced our support of a new program with INJAZ Al-Arab, part of Junior Achievement Worldwide in Beirut, Lebanon!  And we’re really excited about it as this is the first time we’re working with a non-profit in the Middle East.

Young people are facing a lack of job opportunities around the world but the situation in the Middle East is especially compelling. Unemployment levels are at over 30% for youth ages 16-35. In fact it takes the average student 5 years to find their first job after graduation.  To help young people apply entrepreneurial thinking for a better future, the INJAZ “It’s My Business” program will teach 7th graders financial literacy and business-related skills.  The pilot program will be rolled out in Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, aiming to reach 3,000 students.

The partnership with INJAZ underscores our commitment to furthering financial inclusion through entrepreneurship.  While in Beirut, I was able to see another INJAZ’ program in action in a classroom of 15-16 year olds who were brainstorming about their business venture.  Really exciting and inspiring to see the energy that morning.

We announced our partnership at a press conference under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Lebanon, represented at the event by the Minister of Information, H. E. Mr. Walid Daouk; INJAZ Al-Arab Regional Director, Soraya Salti; Chadi Zein, Principal, Booz & Co, and Michael Miebach, president of the Middle East and Africa region of MasterCard Worldwide.  I also presented.

Our employees, already in JA classrooms across Europe, South America and the United States, will now be in the Middle East too.  We’re all looking forward to this new partnership with INJAZ and in making a difference for youth in our communities.