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The missing “Killer App”: Women's empowerment & their economic contribution

Nadereh Chamlou's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
World Bank | Arne Hoel | 2012Before the holidays, World Bank staff was treated – and I mean treated in its true and exquisite sense – to two fascinating speakers and groundbreaking books, both explaining underlying reasons for the “divergence” between Western economies and other regions of the world that were ahead of the West for much of humankind’s history in terms of culture, science, and prosperity. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and elsewhere, there has been a longstanding discussion about what helped the West to speed ahead, and what held others back.   

What are Arabs searching for?

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
One answer is available from Google Insight—“Facebook” – was by far the top search across countries in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. Only the people of Oman and Iran didn’t record “Facebook” in their top 3 searches. And Yemenis were searching almost exclusively for Facebook. This represents a big change from 2009, when Arabs (+Iran) were primarily searching for “Games” and “Images.” Interestingly, the only country that reported “Facebook” as a top search, back in 2009, was none other than the leader in the Arab revolutions –Tunisia. By 2010, all but 6 countries had “Facebook” in their top 3 searches. See the Table below for full details.

Egypt: Going "ultra" is now the norm

Khaled Sherif's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
OK, I’m a Zamalek fan, I admit it.  For those of you that don’t follow Egyptian football (soccer), Zamalek is always the team that finishes second.  The team that is so close to winning the title, but always stumbles in the end.  If you have a heart condition, or if you are seriously vested in getting one, become a Zamalek fan and it won’t be long before your first visit to the neighborhood cardiologist.  Yes, it is that heartbreaking. Then there is Ahly (National).  They always finish first and just manage to nudge Zamalek out by that one point, or that one goal for that matter.  They always win, it’s what they do.  They have the biggest purse, the larger number of fans, and they all wear red, Ahly’s playing color. 

Thank you all and let’s keep it alive!

Inger Andersen's picture
Also available in: العربية
Over 600 people across the world joined me today in the first Live Web Chat in Arabic and English hosted by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region of the World Bank. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I appreciate your time, your seriousness, your passion and the very clear commitment in all your comments and questions. I am convinced that embracing social media technology platforms to enable our dialogue and discussion with you is the right way to go and I salute all the young people in MENA who have stood out as such a creative example in these communication spaces. We have learned so much from you.

WaterHackathon Cairo: Unusual partners for collaborative solutions

Cecilia Paradi-Guilford's picture

How could the World Bank engage and bring together Egypt’s technology community with water specialists to solve the country’s most pressing water and sanitation challenges? This past October, Cairo hosted the first-ever WaterHackathon in an effort to find out. WaterHackathon Cairo brought together Egyptian technologists with water specialists to brainstorm innovative ICT solutions for Egypt’s biggest water challenges. With 70% of the participants between the ages of 19 and 28, the event captured the energy and commitment of Egypt’s young people.

Keywords to the Middle East and North Africa: Check for yours here

Inger Andersen's picture
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Next week I’ll be in a “live chat” conversation online with anyone who wants to jump in and share a thought about what the Middle East and North Africa needs now to shape a future so deeply challenged by the voices of citizens demanding a better social contract. It has been stunning to see how young people have used social media platforms so creatively to exchange views, to monitor and to hold authorities accountable over the past year. With this same set of tools I believe we at the World Bank can better learn from citizens of the region what their priorities are now. While the World Bank is not a big source of financing to MENA (despite the image some have of us!), we do have global knowledge to share and expertise to offer. But only insofar as countries value that and seek our input.   

Tahrir Square, batata and a wedding

Khaled Sherif's picture
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Fridays in Egypt aren’t what they used to be.  In Fridays past, you typically would sleep in and as the noon hour approached you’d walk to the neighborhood Mosque where you would meet friends and pray gamaa (as a group).  After noon prayers, my friends and I would go to the Maadi Club, play a little soccer, have tea, and then we would agree to do it all over again the next Friday. What fun. But, one thing seems to have been added to the Friday agenda.  You still sleep until noon, you still go to the Mosque and the Club, but now you have to go to Tahrir Square and join the latest “millioneya,” the million man/woman march which seems to be an event on most Fridays. 

Unemployment: The Mediterranean effect

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
High unemployment rates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are well known. What is less well known is that high unemployment characterizes all Mediterranean countries. Using the most recent data in the World Development Indicators, countries with coastlines on the Mediterranean have an average unemployment rate of 12.5%. Average unemployment among the European Mediterranean countries is 13.5% percent (of which, France, Italy, Greece, and Spain average 11%), while unemployment in the MENA Mediterranean averages 10.5%.  

Share your views: What does the Middle East & North Africa region need now?

Esther Lee Rosen's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Across the Middle East and North Africa, citizens are demanding a say in the way development choices are made. A year ago, the world watched as people found the power of voice in Tunisia; a year on, the world is challenged to support the aspirations of millions of citizens across the region, reclaiming their dignity. To mark this historical tide, the World Bank will host a live online discussion with Inger Andersen, Vice President of the Bank’s MENA region. Inger invites you to share your views with the World Bank on January 10, 2012 at 7:00 am EST.

CFR.org Interview: A reform agenda for Arab economies

Guest Blogger's picture
Jonathan Masters, Associate Staff Writer for the CFR.org of the Council on Foreign Relations recently interviewed World Bank’s Manuela V. Ferro, Director of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management for the Middle East and North Africa region. They discussed the economic challenges central to the political transformations sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. Some of the issues presented include the need to tackle corruption, slow growth, inequality and unemployment that helped arouse protest movements in the region.

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