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February 2014

Broadband in MENA: what will it take to expand internet access?

Natalija Gelvanovska's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

 what will it take to expand internet access?

The issue of affordable connectivity gained prominence last week when photographer John Stanmeyer won World Press Photo of the Year for his eloquent picture of people standing on a beach at night in Djibouti, trying to access cheaper wireless service from neighboring Somalia. In a new study “Broadband Networks in the Middle East and North Africa: Accelerating High –Speed Internet Access (launched February 6 in Abu Dhabi) my colleagues Carlo Maria Rossotto, Michel Rogy and I looked at prices and other market structures in places like Djibouti when we set out to understand what it will take to expand broadband internet in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) from its current low base.

What Next for Yemeni Women After the National Dialogue?

Samra Shaibani's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

A woman being interviewed during the March 7th, 2011 march
Source: Flickr creative commons

There have been a regular series of meetings in Yemen that gather together women from all walks of life, female politicians, civil servants, current and former cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, lawyers, and representatives of the civil society. I had the chance to attend several of these meetings, as did women from the international community, either female ambassadors or representatives of donor organizations.

Area C: An Untapped Resource that Could Turnaround the Palestinian Economy

Orhan Niksic's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

 Arne Hoel

The Palestinian economy is stalling. Growth dropped sharply in 2013, unemployment is on the rise, and tax revenues for the Palestinian authority are falling significantly short of what is needed to finance even recurrent expenditures. That’s the bad news that many are well aware of. There is however a potential source of good news that currently lies dormant, but if tapped could both stimulate growth and transform the Palestinian economy.

‘Switching on the Lights’: Access to Information as a Path to Better Schools

Simon Thacker's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

Students on their school lunch break

There had never been a problem with attendance at the Indian High School in Dubai, the largest school in the city with over 10,000 students. But when a new metro station opened right outside the school in 2009 things changed. Students were suddenly tempted to skip school and head to the largest mall in the world, now just a short hop away. 

The quality of education in MENA: Some good news

Farrukh Iqbal's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

 Some good news

In some respects, the Middle East and North Africa region has a very strong record in the area of education.  For example, if we rank countries by increases in the average number of years of schooling between 1980 and 2010, nine of the top twenty are from the MENA region. This good performance in the quantity of education stands in sharp contrast to the comparatively weak performance of the region in sustaining high economic growth over the last three decades.

Arab Women’s Day: What needs to be done in the Middle East and North Africa

Garam Dexter's picture
Also available in: العربية

 What needs to be done in the Middle East and North Africa

Almost everyone has heard of the annual International Women’s Day, but have you heard of the Arab Women’s Day? Although I grew up in Syria, I had not heard of it. When I mentioned this day to my family and friends living throughout the MENA region, most them responded with a confused: “You mean Mother’s Day?”

January 25th: A Date to Remember in the Arab World

Wael Zakout's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

January 25th
Photo: "January 25th is the best and most honorable day in the history of Egypt"

In the World Bank office in Cairo, there is a beautiful poster that proclaims January 25th as the best day in history. I do not know its origin, but it looks like a drawing made in the heart of Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the January 25th revolution. Three years later, January 25th has a deep meaning in modern Arab history. 

Can the Middle East and North Africa Break the Vicious Cycle of Low Growth and Political Instability?

Lili Mottaghi's picture
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Arne Hoel

The announcement comes at a time when growth is slow, unemployment is high and the economy is still suffering from already ballooning subsidies -amounting to 9 percent of GDP- that have kept Egypt’s fiscal deficit at an exceptionally high 13.7 percent of GDP.  At least seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa Region —including all those in transition after the Arab Spring (such as Egypt)--are trapped in a low-growth-poor-policy loop. 

High-Speed internet and the Values of the Arab Spring

Joulan Abdul Khalek's picture
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High-Speed Internet and the values of the Arab spring

I remember once at a conference in Tunisia being asked by a young member of parliament why it made sense to invest in a fiber optic cable to a remote village in Djerba instead of improving more basic services such as electricity grids or water irrigation. The interesting thing is that the two are not mutually exclusive, as most of the times conventional infrastructure projects also have the capacity to deliver fiber at a small incremental cost. But at the time I answered that investing in internet infrastructure should not only be seen as an economic activity but also as an extension of the values of the “Arab Spring”.

Lowering Barriers to High Speed Internet in the Arab World

Michel Rogy's picture
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Lowering Barriers to High Speed Internet in the Arab World
This blog post was first published on the ICT blog.

On affordability grounds alone, millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa region could be excluded from today’s information revolution. Meeting this challenge has become a top regional priority. Many countries in the Arab world have identified broadband Internet as a critical input to the broader objective of nation building and the transition to a knowledge-based economy.http://www.worldbank.org/en/region/mena/publication/broadband-networks-in-mna

Development could be a click away in the Arab World

Junaid Kamal Ahmad's picture
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Video Blog
​Junaid Kamal Ahmad, World Bank Director of Sustainable Development for the Middle East and North Africa, discusses the immense potential for high speed internet to be an engine of development in the region. This is the focus of the forthcoming report, “Broadband Networks in the Middle East and North Africa: Accelerating High-Speed Internet Access.”