Youth employment programme in Middle East and Africa

Enabling vulnerable young people to build a better future through hospitality training
  • 500

    young people supported

  • 2

    countries operational

  • 15 years’

    experience in Middle East and Africa

Youth unemployment in Middle East and Africa

Why we are doing this

The youth labour force in Middle East and Africa presents both a challenge and an opportunity for new and motivated talent.

  • Middle East and Africa accounts for some of the world’s highest youth unemployment rates, resulting in just under 19 million young people without work.1
  • Many countries in the region are expected to experience a rapid growth of young people entering the labour market over the next 10 years.2

Hospitality as a solution

In 2018, the travel and tourism industry contributed 9.5% to GDP in Gulf Cooperation Council countries3 and grew by 5.6% in Africa, significantly above the African economy growth rate of 3.2%.4 Over the next 10 years, the industry across Middle East and Africa is expected to see an increase of over 10 million jobs.5

The increasing youth population in this region has an enormous potential to help drive economic growth. This growing industry can offer the opportunity for young people from every background to start a rewarding and lifelong career.

About this programme

Our youth employment programme works to support vulnerable young people to gain the skills and experience they need to access career opportunities within the expanding hotel industry and beyond.

What we are doing

We have been delivering our­ youth employment programme in Middle East and Africa since 2005, with the programme first launching in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Our industry-endorsed programme combines classroom training with hands-on experience within a world-leading hotel.

Over the last 15 years we have run successful programmes in seven countries across the region, supporting nearly 500 students to gain the skills they need to access meaningful employment within the hospitality industry and other sectors.

The programme currently operates in two countries across the region.

Who we are helping

Our programmes in this region support young people, aged 18-24, who have faced a wide range of barriers, including people from low income families, living without parental care, and those who may have experienced forms of exploitation, discrimination, violence.

We are also working to support people with disabilities through our Inclusive Futures project and encourage increased disability inclusion among the hospitality industry.

World map highlighting the 2 countries in which Sustainable Hospitality Alliance's Youth Employment programme is operational in Middle East and Africa region.

Where we work

Our youth employment programme is currently active in Kenya and Nigeria.

Through strategic partnerships with funders and non-profits, we are currently working to grow our programme and deepen our impact in these countries.

Please get in touch to support our programme in any of the above countries, or to discuss other destinations.

Our supported projects in this region

We partner with non-profits, philanthropic organisations, governments and the private sector to scale the impact of our youth employment programme in specific communities and destinations.
Find out more
A young person is being trained on how to serve tables in a restaurant. He is a participant of Inclusive Futures, a six-year initiative funded by UK aid to promote disability inclusion in the workplace.

Inclusive Futures

Promoting disability inclusion so everyone has the same opportunities to claim their right to work.

Find out more about our programme in other regions

Discover more
Group of students from TUI Academy Sri Lanka - youth employment project from Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Asia Pacific

Our programmes are helping young people, including survivors of human trafficking, in the Asia Pacific region.

Discover more
Young hotel housekeeper training how to make a bed. She is a participant of our youth employment programme in Latin America.

Latin America

We have previously supported vulnerable young people in Latin America.

Help us to continue to change lives

Find out how to become a partner

We are seeking partnerships with funders and non-profits to increase the impact of this programme in Middle East and Africa and across the world.

  • Expand for detailed references
    1. ILO (2020), Global Employment Trends For Youth 2020, available from
    2. ILO (2017), Global Employment Trends For Youth 2017, available from
    3. UN (2015), Youth population trends and sustainable development, available from
    4. WTTC (2019), GCC, 2019 Annual Research: Key Highlights, available from
    5. Aggregate data from WTTC (2019), Africa, 2019 Annual Research: Key Highlights, available from; WTTC (2019), GCC, 2019 Annual Research: Key Highlights, available from