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October 2011

Gender equality in time

Aida Haddad's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

Every year, during a time oscillating between summer and autumn, my institution the World Bank and the IMF jointly hold their Annual Meetings. Often, concerns about the global economy dominate the discussions.  With all that is going on this year, I wondered why the main theme of the meeting was gender equality. As important as the topic may be, it was not going to deliver a tangible outcome in the near future, especially when developing countries in particular are facing uncertain horizons. And yet, I must say I felt a sense of pride in, and belonging to, this message. The message was bold and visible: In their different tongues they asked the same question: “Equal?”

Breaking even or breaking through: financial sustainability and MENA’s higher education

Adriana Jaramillo's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

The global economic crisis and the Arab Spring have sharpened the challenge to the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) from a large young population seeking better educational and professional opportunities. A variety of factors have impeded the countries’ abilities to absorb an increasing labor force: excessive GDP volatility; labor demand heavily dominated by the public sector; economies dependent on oil revenues and low value-added products; and weak integration into the global economy.

Thinking equal

Patti Petesch's picture
Also available in: Français

The World Bank's "think equal" campaign, which  launched the new World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development, addresses the challenge of women's empowerment and gender equality well.  Preconceived notions of what it means to be a "real man" or a "real woman" are deeply internalized and integral to our identities and relationships. Women and men who seek to mix up this picture will have to do the hard work of acknowledging that some of our most cherished values and assumptions about gender no longer make sense and may ultimately  prove to be harmful. 

Creating a culture of giving

Guest Blogger's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

Being a volunteer in Lebanon is not an easy task. People tend to encourage us superficially but they actually do not understand the reason why we would spend our time doing something for free when we can be working on something more profitable - at least to help with our summer expenses or university tuition. It is also pretty hard to bring in or recruit volunteers! I have heard recruiting for such an effort was much easier in the past when my parents were my age. People had fewer distractions and were more committed to the concept of helping each other.

Myths about education in the Arab world

Mourad Ezzine's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

In light of the Arab Spring and continued focus on the region, we are discovering much about the Arab world. This is a very positive development, which brings to light the many misunderstandings and “myths” about the region. This is certainly true of education. It is time to address and dispel them. Myth 1 - Education is poor in the region because it has been neglected: Untrue. Since their independence, Arab world countries have made huge gains and currently invest heavily in education. The Arab world has made significant progress in recent decades.

A voice in history: Tunisia readies for change

Inger Andersen's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

The Prime Minister of Tunisia, Béji Caïd Essebsi, is in Washington DC this week on an official visit to the United States and we were honored that he made time to visit the World Bank and share his thoughts about his country’s future as it prepares for elections on October 23. What a remarkable story it is. The Prime Minister, who has served in public life since Tunisia’s independence in 1957 and wryly describes himself as “no political novice”, told us he had expected change. But the manner and speed and unpredictability of the revolution in December and January was a surprise. Mr. Caïd Essebsi has been a unique leader for this fast-paced and game-changing period in Tunisia.

Services versus manufacturing: which matters more for growth and jobs in MENA?

Christina A. Wood's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

In addition to increasing globalization, which has been key to rapid growth for many countries, an emerging debate is which sector, services or manufacturing, could be the main source of growth for developing countries today. The East Asian middle and high income countries globalized through manufacturing-led activities, having followed the traditional development path from agriculture through manufacturing and only later to services. For the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, which sector path to growth, services or manufacturing, could emerge and be fostered?