On June 22, 2023, the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) organized a closed online roundtable entitled “Youth Unemployment: Implications of Iraq's New 3-Year Budget.” The roundtable was attended by policymakers, government officials, academics, researchers, and activists in a discussion that revolved around the recently passed national budget. The discussion presented the financial and social problem indicators in light of the budget, the political negotiations around its legislation, and the governmental approach towards its implementation.
Mr. Ahmed Tabaqchali, a Senior Fellow at IRIS, emphasized, "Out of the total oil revenues in 2025, the government's expenditure will be 82% on salaries and pensions, 52% on services, and 20% on investment, totalling 165% of the total oil revenues." Tabaqchali argued that this figure reflects a significant imbalance in budget allocation and raises concerns about the sustainability and effectiveness of the government's spending priorities.
Dr. Ahmed Rushdi, a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor in the Iraqi Parliament, stated that "the trend of dependence on the public sector and the limited private sector has led the Iraqi youth to regard public sector employment as a dream." Rushdi noted that this observation serves as a stark reminder of the limited opportunities available in the private sector, which consequently fuels the aspirations of young Iraqis to secure positions in the public sector, driven by the desire for stability and job security.
Collectively, the roundtable served as an important forum for addressing the critical issue of youth unemployment in Iraq. It emphasized the need for comprehensive strategies to enhance employment opportunities, and fostering a vibrant economy.
- Hussein Allawi (Advisor for Security Sector Reform, Iraqi Prime Minister Office)
- Ahmed Rushdi Abdullah (Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, the Parliament of Iraq)
- Zahra Alsadr (Member of the Political Bureau, National Wisdom Movement)
- Ahmed Tabaqchli (Senior Fellow, IRIS)
Hayder Al-Shakeri (Research Associate, Chatham House)
This event was held as part of the Iraq Economic Review.