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Conflict and development: the World Bank Group’s new strategy for the Middle East and North Africa region

Omer Karasapan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Damascus,Syria - Volodymyr Borodin l Shutterstock.com

In February 2012, I wrote a blog about the relevance to the Arab revolutions that had swept the region of  the UN’s then recently unveiled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future worth Choosing,” which called for the eventual adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now three and a half years later, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week, , world leaders endorsed the SDGs, an ambitious agenda that aims to end poverty, promote prosperity and protect the environment. 

Think regional, act local: a new approach for Maghreb countries

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Pichugin Dmitry l Shutterstock.com

Every organization, no matter how large, needs to pause occasionally and take a good, hard look at itself. It is vital for measuring the gap between intention and achievement, and charting a new course. For the World Bank Group (WBG), this “hard look” took the form of a gathering for three days in Marrakech, Morocco where we listened to voices from the ground, debated and reached consensus on an action plan for a renewed path for the Maghreb Team.

Does legal aid reduce poverty?

Paul Prettitore's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Emad Abd El Hady l World Bank

Last week I attended a gathering of legal aid providers, a somewhat informal group mostly from rich countries but with a slowly growing number of developing country participants. Legal aid services—covering public information and awareness, group and individual counseling, and representation by a lawyer—are generally delivered free of charge to the poor and vulnerable, so they can better understand their rights and the procedures to enforce them, and improve their access to formal justice sector services (those provided by courts, other dispute resolution bodies, and lawyers). 

What is a university degree worth in the Arab world?

Christine Petré's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Ramzi Maalouf

Graduation—a long-awaited day in most students' lives. Yet, according to Amir Fakih, himself a recent graduate from Lebanon’s Notre Dame University, a graduation ceremony also comes with grievances. To illustrate his perception of the future for Lebanon’s young university graduates, he decided to dress himself in his graduation gown doing low-income jobs. 

Early childhood education is not a luxury

Kamel Braham's picture
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 Arne Hoel l World Bank

Observers of the educational landscape in the Maghreb countries are often left with the impression that early childhood education is more a luxury than a necessity. While child-care centers, kindergartens, and other preschool institutions are thriving in the big cities, backed by a private sector that is filling the void left by the public education system, the public preschool system continues to be neglected. In order to understand the importance of early childhood education, the status of universal education in the region needs to be examined a little more closely.

Do global rankings tell the whole truth about universities in the Arab world?

Simon Thacker's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Zurijeta l Shutterstock.com

Choosing a college or university is one of life’s pivotal decisions—it can influence your career and future opportunities. For students in the Middle East and North Africa, as elsewhere, that decision depends on many factors, large and small. But in today’s world that choice is increasingly influenced by rankings, that is, how an institution lines up against other universities when it’s rated. 

Greening the Energy Sector in the Middle East and North Africa

Charles Cormier's picture
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 Robert Robelus l World Bank

One question that often arises when I meet colleagues who work on climate change is how the energy sector in the Middle East will adapt to a carbon-constrained world.   In May 2015, my inbox was flooded with articles that quoted the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ali al-Naimi, who declared that Saudi Arabia aspires to be a global power in solar and wind and could start exporting renewable energy instead of fossil fuels in the coming years.

Arab world needs a new deal on energy to end the black outs

Charles Cormier's picture
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Skyline of Dubai with high voltage power supply lines - Philip Lange l Shutterstock.com

When I started working in the Middle East and North Africa region two years ago, the surprising thing I discovered is that although the region is known as an energy powerhouse – it produces 30% of the world's oil, has 41% of the known gas reserves, and hydrocarbons are its most important export - the countries in the region barely meet domestic demand for electricity, partly due to a chronic shortage of gas.

Tunisia: Understanding corruption to fight it better

Franck Bessette's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Ljupco Smokovski l Shutterstock.com

Corruption in the public sector is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon. It can take on a myriad of forms and come to light in various areas.  It ranges from petty corruption among government officials who use their influence for monetary gain to corruption in lobbying and fundraising in election campaigns.  Its reach extends from public procurement to managing conflicts of interest.  It is used to bribe whistleblowers and is present in all cases of cronyism and misappropriation of public funds. 

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