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Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:09

Youth Education at Alarming Levels in Iraq, the National Human Development Report 2014 shows

Baghdad, 17 December 2014 –  Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haidar Al-Abadi, and Minister of Planning, Dr. Salman Al-Jumaily jointly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), today launched in Baghdad the National Human Development Report  2014 under the theme “Youth: Challenges and Opportunities”.


The report details many challenges for the Iraqi youth, particularly in the field of education and employment. It shows that youth education is at alarming levels, with a high youth illiteracy rate at 13%; females who have completed their secondary education are only 7.8%. Youth employment is low with a wide gender gap: only 56% of male youth are employed, and 6% of female.

The report also provides a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the development situation in Iraq with particular emphasis on youth. This is the third National Human Development Report in Iraq. The first two others were respectively published in 1995 and 2008.

The report shows that while the overall human development, measured through the Human Development Index (HDI) at 0.694, has improved since 2008, it still places Iraq in the lower middle development level and is much less than the HDI for Iraq in 1990 measured at 0.759. The report also shows that youth in Iraq have achieved a lower development than the national average at an HDI of 0.641.

“There is moral responsibility for the government to overcome the current challenges and reach out to the young people," Prime Minister Al-Abadi, said. “Looking at the challenges the youth of this country face, but also at the hope they expressed in this report, we believe that Iraq has a better future. Let's count on our youth and address their needs by boosting education and creating jobs,“ he added.

The policy recommendations that the National Human Development Report makes to improve youth development in Iraq include raising secondary school enrolment for both males and females; improving youth’s economic participation, which is currently at 63% for young men and at an alarming low 12% for females; strengthening societal participation which shows very low rates at 6% for young men and 7% for young women; and increasing freedom of expression and communications through computers and access to the Internet.

“The Iraqi youth expressed their views about the future of Iraq, it’s important to listen to them," the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, highlighted. “The essence of this latest National Human Development Report is quite simple, it shows that Iraq has a demographic window of hope through young Iraqi, so we need to seize this opportunity and exploit it for the better”, he stressed

The report aims to inform policy makers and development planners in the government, the civil society and the international development assistance on the human development priorities in Iraq. It comes at the right time to support the pledges of the new Iraqi government to actively address the development challenges in Iraq.


For more information:


Khalid M. Khalid

National Programme Officer

United Nations Development Programme - Iraq

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(m) +964 7510 448 230


The full reports in Arabic and English are available at:


Additional Info

  • Agency: UNDP

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