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MENAFN Press - 27/01/2014
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(MENAFN Press) Silatech and Microsoft today signed an agreement renewing their commitment to provide online employability resources to Arab youth through the Ta3mal network. The new agreement will now see the activation of the Qatar portal, following successful project implementations in Egypt, Iraq and Tunisia

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Silatech CEO Dr. Tarik M. Yousef and Microsoft Qatar General Manager Naim Yazbeck, in the presence of HE Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Qatar's Minister of Communication and Information Technology and former Secretary-General of ictQatar, and Jeffrey Avina, Director of Citizenship and Community Affairs, Microsoft Middle East and Africa.

The Ta3mal network provides Arab youth with free access to a wide variety of resources, including personalized advice on how to write a CV, and career guidance tools and virtual advising to help young people determine the career path that best matches their life aspirations. Through a partnership with ALISON, the world's leading provider of free online courses, Ta3mal users have access to over 500 online courses to enhance their professional skills. For aspiring entrepreneurs, Ta3mal offers useful information and tips for starting businesses and obtaining funding, as well as virtual mentoring and entrepreneurship support services, including advice on how to create a business plan and market a business idea.

Youth unemployment in the Arab region is around 25 percent-the highest of any region in the world-and the lack of access to quality employability resources is a substantial impediment to lowering unemployment rates.

Customized Ta3mal country portals have now been launched in Egypt, Qatar, Iraq, and Tunisia, with plans to expand to additional Arab countries in the future. Through close coordination with local partners, Ta3mal will soon also provide job seekers a platform from which to search for entry-level job openings and available internship opportunities in their area. Country partners include Edupartage, Tunisiana, and ATUGE (Tunisia), USAID (Iraq), the Ministry of Youth (Egypt) and the Bedaya Center (Qatar).

According to the Minister of Information and Communications Technology, ictQATAR and Silatech Board Member HE Dr. Hessa Al Jaber stated, "Qatar has long understood that encouraging and actively supporting innovation and entrepreneurship and spurring ICT adoption, particularly among our young people, will foster a thriving and diversified economy." She added, "I want to thank both Microsoft and Silatech for their ongoing commitment to Qatar and the region. Our young people are our future. Empowering them to use ICT safely and effectively in whatever their work and career choices is a top priority."

Together with Silatech and Microsoft, ictQatar is also a participant in the Employability Resources for All Digital Alliance (eRADA), an initiative to develop and deploy Web- and mobile-based employability resources throughout the region to benefit Arab youth.

Commenting on the event, Microsoft Qatar General Manager, Naim Yazbeck, said: Microsoft continues its commitment as a contributor to the socio-economic development of the State of Qatar. As one of the fastest growing economies of the world, Qatar is keen on boosting employability rates and remaining the most competitive market in the region. Our partnership will allow us to invest our latest technologies to harness Qatar's workforce and provide the youth with the tools that will enable them to advance tomorrow's knowledge-based economy.

Jeffrey Avina, Director of Citizenship and Community Affairs, Microsoft Middle East and Africa, said: "Microsoft is committed to providing youth in the region with access to the tools and technologies that will help them identify and secure career opportunities. Microsoft's partnership with Silatech began in 2012 with the 'MasrTa3mal' which resulted in high demand from countries across the Arab World to create similar employability portals. We are excited to be extending the opportunity to youth in Qatar and believe that Ta3mal will enable them to identify opportunities to advance their careers."

Silatech CEO Dr. Tarik M. Yousef commented on the partnership, saying "The Ta3mal network is a product of our joint commitment to providing widespread access to quality employability resources for the youth of this region. The Silatech-Microsoft partnership for Ta3mal shows what we can do when NGOs and the private sector join our complementary strengths and resources together to achieve real impact.

Silatech is a regional social initiative that works to improve employment, entrepreneurship and civic engagement opportunities for young people throughout the Arab world.

Through the Ta3mal initiative, Silatech and Microsoft aim to provide employability and entrepreneurship resources to over one million young people throughout the region during 2014.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.About SilatechSilatech is a regional non-profit organization working to expand economic opportunities for youth throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As a social initiative, it develops employability skills and opportunities and promotes entrepreneurship, access to capital and markets and the engagement and participation of young people in economic and social development. Silatech was founded in January 2008 by Her Highness, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, with broad support from other regional and international leaders. For more information, please visit: http://www.silatech.com.



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