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Moving beyond street protests: Building social accountability in the Arab world

Line Zouhour's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

Young man in the streets of Tripoli

At the heart of the upheavals that swept across the Middle East region during the Arab Spring was the call for more transparent, fair and accountable government. In the aftermath of the uprisings, specialists are left to address the issue of transition to democratic rule. In doing so, they have to answer the following questions: how can we systemize the culture of accountability and democratic governance? How can we channel the popular energy of street mobilization into a powerful institution that keeps duty-bearers in check?

 

New technology changes the working day, offering a strategy for more jobs in the Middle East

Kara Schoeffling's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

  Arne Hoel

It’s no secret that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has the highest youth unemployment rate in the entire world: nearly 30% according to the International Labour Organization. Over one in four young people have no viable means for economic prosperity, and sadly education is no guarantor of a job. Despite these bleak statistics, a recent survey commissioned by Qatar’s telecom giant, Orredoo, suggests that young people still have hope of a great future, fueled in large part by the innovations of the 21st century. The challenge is to innovate technology and alter our way of thinking about work to motivate MENA’s youth.
 

Expanding the Global Youth Agenda beyond Jobs

Gloria La Cava's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

Young man from MENA

Youth exclusion- is a challenge of staggering proportions in the post-2015 development agenda. Since 2011, disenchantment among the largest youth cohort in history has channeled itself into movements challenging the status quo in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Europe, and Latin America. Popular protests have been called not just for jobs but for changing the old order, but for a voice on policies that impact the future of youth, and for justice, freedom and dignity. 

All in the Family

Bob Rijkers's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

 Arne Hoel

Crony capitalism is the key development challenge facing Tunisia today

Last week’s Economist magazine focused on Crony Capitalism.  From the powerful oil barons in the USA in the 1920s to today’s oligarchs in Russia and Ukraine, they show that such entrenched interests have been a major concern over time and around the globe.  North Africa is no exception. The fortunes  accumulated by the family and friends of President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt were so obscene that they helped trigger the Arab Spring revolutions, with protestors demanding an end to corruption by the elite.

More crop per drop in the Middle East and North Africa

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

Interview
Water is a scarce commodity: we should take care of it.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region there is really very little choice. The region only receives about two percent of the world’s annual precipitation and holds about 1.2 percent of the world’s renewable water resources. This makes water a deeply precious and scarce resource.  The statistics are stark: The amount of water consumed in the United States averages 2,800 cubic meters per person per year, whereas in Yemen, it is 100 cubic meters per person. 
 

Promoting Social Entrepreneurship in Morocco

Diego Angel-Urdinola's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

 Arne Hoel

Youssef lives in a small and disadvantaged rural province in the south of Morocco. He is a manufacturing worker in a local factory. He has two children aged 10 and 12. The public school his children could attend is far from the factory and has been in the process of rehabilitation for several years. Student and teacher absenteeism is quite high, especially during the winter because the school has no heating and roads to the school are in poor condition.

Yemen’s Qat Addiction Worsens

Mustapha Rouis's picture
Also available in: Français

 Peer Gatter

Yemen is mostly in the news these days for its political transition. This has obscured a longstanding issue, the chewing of qat, which has equally important consequences for the country.
 
Qat is a mild narcotic leaf popular in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.  Excessive qat-chewing has disastrous impacts on health, education, and productivity. We illustrated this for Yemen in a report we prepared in 2007 (see here).  The situation today is probably just as bad, if not worse. 

Economic Outlook for the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2014: A Goldilocks Moment?

Farrukh Iqbal's picture

Kuwait
From Flickr

The World Bank’s latest Quarterly Economic Brief for the MENA region warns that short term prospects for many countries in the region are poor.  For reasons related to ongoing political turmoil, these countries face high fiscal and current account deficits and are not undertaking structural reforms that could make things better in the medium run.    On the other hand, one part of the region, the hydrocarbon-rich members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), faces a much rosier short term economic outlook.  This is of some consolation because the GCC economies account for almost half the region’s GDP and have a significant impact on some neighboring economies (including Egypt, Jordan and Yemen) through financial transfers related to remittances, tourism, foreign investment and aid.

Egypt and Tunisia's New Constitutions recognize the importance of the knowledge economy and intellectual property rights

Guest Blogger's picture
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 Arne Hoel

Last January, Egypt and Tunisia enacted new constitutions in the context of the political changes they have been witnessing since the 2011 revolutions that overthrew the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes. While most public attention has focused on how these constitutions have addressed hotly debated issues such as the structure of government, the role of religion and fundamental freedoms, there has been relatively less attention to how they have dealt with economic and social issues. In this regard, it is noteworthy that the two constitutions contain clauses which give high priority to building a knowledge economy and which provide for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs), at the constitutional level, for the first time in the history of these countries.

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