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Social Development

A Boost for Microfinance in the Arab World

Peter McConaghy's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

A Boost for Microfinance in the Arab World

Microfinance – defined as the access to and usage of quality financial services, including savings, credit, insurance and money transfer systems - is crucial for low-income households to manage cash flows to finance day-to-day living, manage risks, invest productively, and respond to financial shocks.

The low levels of financial inclusion in the Middle East and North Africa region, however, have left many with limited access to any sort of financial services. This is especially true for certain groups such as women and young people. 

Better together: a new regional platform to improve public service delivery

Yolanda Tayler's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

World Bank

Whether constructing a new bridge or buying textbooks for a public school, governments around the world constantly purchase a wide variety of goods and services. In the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, these types of public contracts represent between 15 percent and 20 percent of GDP each year, an annual amount equal to tens of billions of US dollars.

A Georgian Idol for the Middle East and North Africa

Rania Atieh's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
        World Bank

Peer learning has great potential as an effective tool for sharing knowledge and good practice. For it to work, the right environment is needed; one that is conducive to learning and knowledge-sharing. In a recent case in Georgia, however, it all came down to the right crowd, a great host and relevant experiences. Good food and nice weather may also have helped some.

Arab World ailments ill-served

Amina Semlali's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

        Photo credit: bandcassociates

From the exhilaration of popular revolution to the tragedy of ongoing conflict, the Middle East and North Africa region has occupied a prominent place in the headlines. Yet there is another, often silent, drama that is not receiving the attention it deserves. It is playing out in both rich and poor countries, albeit in different forms. A series of alarming statistics reveal an ongoing deterioration in the overall health of the people of the region.

A silent data revolution in the Arab World

Paolo Verme's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

        World Bank | Arne Hoel

Something new and important is happening in the Arab world, and it has so far gone largely unnoticed. Since the beginning of the 2011 revolutions, statistical agencies in the North Africa and the Middle East have started to open up access to their raw data and sharing it not only with selected individuals and institutions but also with the public at large. This amounts to a cultural revolution the implications of which are exciting and wide ranging.

Can a game teach us how to better invest in the poor in Jordan?

Guest Blogger's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
        Kim Eun Yeul

“I never thought that a poor family could benefit so much by me giving just a small amount of money,” the old man said with an intrigued yet hopeful expression on his face. We were sitting in a small classroom in Aqaba, Jordan, chosen as part of a behavioral experiment on Social Safety Nets. Although I have worked on social issues for many years, this statement was eye-opening to me.

Taking Up the Challenge in Algeria

Emmanuel Noubissie Ngankam's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

It was my first week in Algeria, and I found myself racing through the capital in a motorcade. This was far from my usual form of transportation, but rather the result of a fortunate coincidence. My preparations for taking up office as Resident Representative of the World Bank for Algeria happen to overlap with an official visit by our Vice President for Middle East and North Africa, Inger Andersen.

The Palestinian paradox as an opportunity

Shanta Devarajan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
        World Bank | Arne Hoel

For its level of per-capita income (around $1,500), the Palestinian territories have among the best social indicators in the world. These achievements are all the more remarkable given the difficult economic circumstances facing the Palestinian territories. In contrast to other countries such as India, Indonesia or Peru, teachers in the Palestinian territories do teach and clinics are staffed with health workers.

The musings of a woman in a man’s world - Part Two

Guest Blogger's picture
Also available in: العربية
       

I am a business woman, an entrepreneur from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. I managed to start and grow two companies and a nonprofit in my lifetime. Does this show gender equality? I was neither welcome nor unwelcome by men into this field of work but I believed in something and made it happen. Can such an attitude contribute to changing the reality for women?

Creating an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship can thrive

Randa Akeel's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
        World Bank | Arne Hoel

Launching a sustainable business goes well beyond learning how to draft a business plan or fill out a financing application. It involves a range of skills, both “hard” and “soft”, such as managing a start-up enterprise, motivating employees, assembling a cohesive team, tailoring a product to a well-defined market, adapting rapidly to fast-changing circumstances and consumer sentiment, and understanding how to convert an interesting technology into a viable business.

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