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Is entrepreneurship the solution to poverty in Arab countries?

by Sharita Forrest / Feb 22, 2017

Linda Herrera

The United Nations Development Program recently released the Arab Human Development Report 2016, which advocates an array of educational, social, and political reforms to enhance the lives of the rapidly growing population of young adults under age 30 in Arab countries. Education at Illinois Professor Linda Herrera, a social/political anthropologist who specializes in the Middle East and North Africa regions, critiqued these strategies in an analysis published by the Egypt-based media organization Mada Masr and the e-zine Jadaliyya.

“The report calls specifically for education reforms that ‘promote problem-solving skills, entrepreneurial and management capacity, and the value of self-employment,’” Herrera told Illinois News Bureau education editor Sharita Forrest. “The implication is that schools and universities should prepare young people to take responsibility for their own livelihoods. They should not expect the job market ‘to take care of them.’”

However, a recent analysis by Herrera, a professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, suggests that microfinance and entrepreneurship have not turned out to be the panaceas for poverty that some experts have predicted.

Read the full Illinois News Bureau article.