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Corruption not in the culture

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
President Mikhail Saakashvili recently addressed a standing-room-only crowd at a book launch for Fighting Corruption in Public Services, a case study of Georgia’s reforms.  This short book provides a timely account on the “how to” of eliminating corruption, which all new government officials seeking to redesign the system should read. Emerging immediately after the revolution offered the government a unique opportunity for major reforms because of the overwhelming popular support for change.  This experience provides important lessons for new governments in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.  Georgia’s success proves that corruption is not in the culture, but simply a response to poor governance.   

What does inclusive growth mean for the people of the Middle East and North Africa?

Elena Ianchovichina's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Last week I was in Abu Dhabi for the opening of the joint World Bank – Arab Monetary Fund course on policies for inclusive growth. The course was offered to mid- and high-level policy makers and government officials working in central banks and ministries of finance in sixteen Arab countries. After the opening remarks, I was scheduled to start the course with two lectures on economic trends and inclusive growth in the region. I looked forward to the opportunity to engage with a diverse group of Arab policy makers on a topic that is so relevant in the context of the events of the past year.

Davos and the new Arab discourse

Omer Karasapan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
World Economic Forum l Jolanda FlubacherLast week  Al-Arabiya News had an article on the new (and old) Arab faces at Davos - "For years, the Egyptian government spared no effort or money to impress the Davos crowd. Ministers of trade, investment and finance were always on the chase for the next panel or interview, with Jamal Mubarak (as) the face of the more modern and energized Egypt. Scores of businessmen flocked to hunt for opportunities on the back of a strong government presence.  Actors and pop stars were…the trendy part of the entourage. That was the Egyptian delegation before January 25, 2011."

January 25th, a day Egyptians will never forget

Khaled Sherif's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
January 25th, 2011 began like any normal Tuesday in Egypt except that it was a national holiday (Police Day).  I had arrived three days earlier to the news of my mother being ill and in hospital.  Everything in Egypt was normal on January 23rd and 24th although we all expected demonstrations on Tuesday the 25th.  But, virtually everyone including the security services thought very little would come of it. On Tuesday January 25th the Imam in our mosque encouraged people to go to Tahrir and join other demonstrators.  I hadn’t gone to the prayers, and maybe because I was so preoccupied with family matters, I couldn’t sense the gravity of the situation. 

The market score on Egypt's elections and revolution

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
The Egyptian election brought a modest gain to the Stock Exchange.  The EGX30 is up 6 percent since before elections in November and the broader EGX100 is up 1 percent.  This suggests that the market is cautiously optimistic that the new parliament will be pro-business.  The biggest gainer is Telecom, up 16 percent , though this may be related to renewed trading of Orascom after the company split, and less to the election.  Still, other gainers are chemicals, construction and materials, financial services (excluding banks), and industrial goods and services (including automobiles), which are all up about 5 percent.  Importantly, none of the 12 sectors are down more than 2 percent since the beginning of the election cycle (see chart below).

The post-Arab Spring Islamists and Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party

Omer Karasapan's picture
Also available in: Français
In many respects the question of whether Turkey represents a model for kindred political movements in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has already been answered - with a clear, if not always resounding, yes. From the closeness of their names – at least in Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey – a variation on Justice, Development, and Freedom to strongly articulated support for political democracy and pluralism, the Islamist parties in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia are sympathetic to and appear to be espousing positions broadly similar to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Tunisia one year after the Revolution: which priorities should the World Bank support?

Eileen Murray's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

Tunisia demonstrated one year ago that citizens' voice matters. Accountability is a must.  Government legitimacy is key. Starting from Tunisia, a wave of revolutions now commonly referred to as the "Arab Spring" spread to the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Citizens demanded voice, accountability and opportunity for all, not only for a selected few and mostly privileged. The World Bank has taken significant steps to support this rapid and positive change. 

Adaptation to a changing climate in the Middle East and North Africa

Dorte Verner's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
While the people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been coping with a harsh environment for thousands of years, climate change offers unprecedented challenges. With rapid climate change existing coping mechanisms are often becoming inadequate or obsolete; hence climate change impacts negatively on people’s lives and livelihood. Solutions to reduce vulnerability and capitalize on opportunities are presently difficult for policy makers in the region to identify and implement. This has motivated the World Bank and the League of Arab states to produce the flagship report: Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries.

Morocco: When governance, transparency, integrity, accountability, & public procurement entered the Constitution

Laurence Folliot Lalliot's picture
Also available in: Français
Although many events from the Middle East and North Africa region have enjoyed large press coverage and headlines, one has remained, to date, a rather well-kept secret: the inclusion of governance and a dedicated provision on Public Procurement in the new Moroccan Constitution, adopted by referendum on July 1, 2011. In doing so, Morocco has joined the very small list of countries (i.e., South Africa and the Philippines) to grant a constitutional status to this rather technical field, the impact of which will be progressively felt in the world (even outside the small world of procurement lawyers), as it affects how government money is converted into goods and works like roads, schools, vaccines, etc.

Subsidies, loss aversion, and lessons from Iran

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
One week after extensive protests and strikes against the government’s removal of fuel subsidies, the Nigerian government responded by rolling back prices.  The cost of gasoline had doubled since New Year's Day, and this week’s reversal leaves prices elevated by just one third. Most Nigerians view the subsidy as the main benefit from the country's oil wealth. Though implementation was faulty in this case, there is a strong economic rationale for subsidy removal that goes well beyond their high budgetary cost.  Subsidies distort prices and hence, too much of the subsidized good is used by consumers and producers because it is relatively cheap.

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