Arab youth demand affordable energy despite oil slump

GMT 03:53 2016 Wednesday ,13 April

Arab Today, arab today Arab youth demand affordable energy despite oil slump

Oil prices
Dubai - XINHUA

The majority of Arab youths are concerned over the oil slump yet still demand that their government-subsidized energy, a survey said on Tuesday.

The findings were released on Tuesday according to the Eighth Arab Youth Survey jointly conducted by the public relations firm Asda'a Burson-Marsteller and U.S. consultants Penn Schoen Berland.

The survey was based on 3,500 face-to-face interviews in 16 Arab countries and revealed that 66 percent of respondents are concerned about the declining oil prices.

Arabs younger than 30-years-old in the oil cartel's OPEC Arab member states are particularly concerned about the drop in energy prices as admitted by 80 percent of the respondents, compared with 54 percent in non-OPEC Arab states.

However, 78 percent of all respondents agreed that energy, electricity and transport fuel, such as gasoline and diesel, should be government-subsidized.

In October 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that Arab oil exporters can turn around their 600 billion U.S. dollars fiscal budget surplus accrued between 2010 to 2015 into a combined deficit of 700 billion dollars until the beginning of 2020, if oil prices remain below 50 to 60 dollars per barrel (159 liters).

Oil prices plunged from 110 dollars per barrel in mid-2014 to around 43 dollars Tuesday, whereas it briefly reached 26 dollars per barrel in the first quarter.

Conscious of the fact that low oil prices translates into sacrifices and public spending cuts, 49 percent of respondents said foreigners residing in the Arab world should be exempt from government subsidies.

The number of expatriates residing in the Arab world is extremely high and most are major oil and gas suppliers. For example, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 80 percent of the 9.5 million inhabitants are foreigners.

The survey uncovered that rapidly declining energy prices prompted several regional governments to reassess their subsidy programs.

Jordan and Morocco both removed energy subsidies in the past few years, and countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman have followed suit.

Almost 200 million, or 60 percent, of the Arab world's population is younger than 30 years old, as, according to Asda'a Burson-Marsteller, 28 percent of the Arab world's population is aged between 15 and 29.

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