MENA: Wealth beats democracy, changing priorities

Youth Survey shows new expectations 1 year after Arab Spring

03 May, 17:16

(ANSAmed) - DUBAI, MAY 03 - Less politics and more career: one year after the Arab Spring lturned on a spotlight on the social and political situation in the Middle East, the priorities of young people in the Arab world have shifted from a desire for democracy to a focus on personal wealth and wellbeing, supported by an unchanged optimism for a better future. This picture is sketched in the ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2012, which surveys the situation in 12 Arab countries in the Gulf region, the East and North Africa. Seventy-two of the interviewees agree that, following the events of the Arab Spring, the region is better off today and that expectations for the future are positive, although the figure is the average of a range from 81% in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to 46% in Lebanon. A fair wage (82%) and home ownership (65%) have become more important than living in a democratic country, which 58% see as ''very important'', ten points less than one year ago. Also in this case there are great differences between the countries: just 46% of respondents in Iraq see democracy as an important value (last year 91%), while the percentages in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are respectively 75, 68 and 67%.

Last year's political events have changed most governments in the region, and 72% of young people find their governments more credible now despite the fact that 54% say that corruption is still one of the most serious challenges. But the young Arabs do not expect further great changes after the revolution: 59% believe that the popular uprising has come to an end, though 41% are still concerned about ''social unrest''. The significant and sudden changes of the past months have also struck another chord: traditional values. Sixty-five percent of young Arabs in fact see these values as an important heritage that must be protected (over 80% in the previous survey), while supporters of 'modern' values have doubled from 17% in 2011 to 35% this year. Views on foreign countries have also changed. America, currently the ideal country for 31% of young people, loses points, while France rises with 46%. The highest valued country for its quality of life in the Middle East is the UAE (40%), followed by Turkey (28%). (ANSAmed).

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