The political transition in Egypt has gone through many phases, but the ability to deliver on the demand for bread, dignity, opportunity and social justice that epitomized the 2011 revolution will continue to stand as an arbiter of its ultimate success. This will be especially apparent in the distribution of economic opportunities and how they are shaped by public policies.
The other day I was invited to a wedding - not a normal Yemeni wedding - but a wedding without Qat! This was a novelty I was keen on witnessing, but was unfortunately unable to accept the invitation as I was travelling outside the country at the time. I was, and remain, intrigued. This small, baby step is a demonstration of the “New Yemen”.
Three of the six books to receive the 2013 English PEN Award for outstanding writing in translation are by Arab authors. This award goes to works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry supporting inter-cultural understanding and freedom of expression. These are the three: The Silence and the Roar by Syria's Nihad Sirees; Writing Revolution: The Voices from Tunis to Damascus edited by Lebanon's Leyla Al-Zubaidi, and Matthew Cassel and Nemonie Craven Roderick; and Horses of God by Morocco's Mahi Binebine.
Although regional economic activity is expected to accelerate in 2012, growth is expected to retreat slightly in 2013. The single biggest risk to this forecast is prolonged political and policy uncertainty, which is a key constraint to private investment and trade, particularly trade in services, while political and social unrest are serious downside risks to the outlook.
After several months of planning and consultations with our partners, which started in May 2011, the Egypt Development Marketplace (DM) was launched on November 8, 2012. As part of the outreach strategy, the Egypt DM team organized a series of information sessions in four of Upper Egypt’s major cities; Asyut, Qena, Aswan and Minya. The sessions were co-organized and co-hosted with Egypt DM partners International Labor Organization, Social Fund for Development, Sawiris Foundation, and others.
In view of the challenge Yemen faces from climate change, Yemen was selected as one of nine single-pilot countries around the world to participate in the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience. Supported by the Climate Investment Funds, the program aims to help countries manage the risks and opportunities posed by climate variability and change, particularly taking into account those most vulnerable to such risks.
What if the hokey pokey is really what it’s all about? Last summer, the World Bank (thanks to the Youth Innovation Fund!) teamed up with Reclaim Childhood to host a sports camp for young girls in Jordan. Over the course of four weeks, 400 young girls from refugee communities in Amman attended the camp, learned new sports, and played games. What made camp especially unique was the cultural diversity of its campers and staff.
Last Thursday I had dinner with my friend Youssef. He told me he was disappointed with the way things were turning out in his country. A young Tunisian educated at the Sorbonne, Youssef took leave from his cushy management consultant job to volunteer for the government after the revolution. Like Youssef many Tunisians feel disillusioned. I replied that now is the time to redouble the efforts.