Today, on Saturday, Prime Minister Muhammad Shayaa al-Sudani stated that Iraq is one of the youngest countries in the world, with over 60% of its population being under the age of 25. He also assured that the government will not overlook any plans or programs aimed at empowering the youth.
During the National Conference for Youth Dialogue, Al-Sudani delivered a speech expressing his pleasure at meeting the attendees. He praised the energy of hope and optimism emanating from the youth of Iraq, who represent both the present and future of the country. Al-Sudani congratulated the organizers of the conference for their efforts in summarizing the ideas of the persistent team of young people who worked for two months to create proposals. He further acknowledged the participation of children from fifteen different governorates in the conference.
He stated that Iraq is among the youngest countries in the world with over sixty percent of its population being under the age of twenty-five. This fact reassures us that our future is in good hands.
He stated that numerous countries, even the most developed and cultured ones, are currently facing the issue of an aging population. Thus, the energy and brilliance of individuals in your country are considered a blessing. These individuals, who have demonstrated their abilities both domestically and internationally, are highly valued. The statistics regarding scholarships awarded to Iraqi students in prestigious foreign universities highlight their exceptional work ethic and excellence, setting them apart from their peers.
He noted that although our youth possess significant potential, our country lacks mature programs with clear goals to channel that energy in the right direction. Moreover, our youth have been subjected to great injustice that no other group has experienced. During the dictatorship, Iraq lost many young people in senseless wars. Later, when the country was under siege, many of our youth emigrated in search of dignity, freedom, and a better life, resulting in a loss of valuable potential that countries of immigration welcomed.
He stated that after the regime change, the state continued to follow the same administrative philosophy inherited from past regimes, which was based on government employment and ignored the importance of educating and promoting work in the private sector. This philosophy controlled the state’s general plans despite its openness to the world. In developed countries, the private sector plays a significant role in managing the economy, and many oil-producing countries with rentier economies have realized the danger of relying solely on a unilateral economic pattern. Therefore, they have started to invest in expertise, energies, and innovations in the private sector, especially among the youth.
In his explanation, he stated that countries relying solely on one economic pattern will be destined for failure. They will be held captive by the market’s unpredictable changes as they depend solely on one commodity.
According to Al-Sudani, the drop in oil prices a few years ago caused delays in employee salary payments and the halt of service projects. Therefore, it’s important to encourage young people to enter the private sector, whether as investors, experienced employees, or workers.
He emphasized that the current government prioritizes the support of the private sector in achieving success. The government has also approved the Social Security Law to ensure equal treatment for private sector workers and government sector workers. Additionally, the government has launched several initiatives to encourage young people to become investors and innovators, such as the (Riyada) initiative, which has progressed significantly in its registration process. Promising youth are being trained, and the capital of banks is being raised to fund new projects.
In his speech, Al-Sudani spoke directly to the youth, urging them to take advantage of important opportunities and use their patriotic spirit to help build Iraq. He emphasized that they are the key to the country’s future and will lead it politically and economically. The government has laid the foundations for empowering the youth in their program, which prioritizes their care and development. Al-Sudani assured that they will not abandon any plan or program to support the youth and hopes to see the fruits of their labor soon.
He expressed his warm welcome to all of your ideas and suggestions. I personally have a great interest in everything you have to offer because you are our most important investment. If we provide you with all the necessary tools for success, then profit is guaranteed. Please do not hesitate to share your ideas and suggestions with us because they are our responsibility. We will implement them if we see potential for success. We are counting on you to help advance and strengthen our country.”