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Global Economy

Rising Fiscal Deficits Coupled with Weak Business Environments a Challenge across the Middle East and North Africa

Lili Mottaghi's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

Seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region --Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Libya (MENA 7)--are facing similar economic problems:  i) volatile growth that has remained significantly below potential; ii) limited fiscal space resulting from rising budget deficits, public debt and declining foreign reserves that have reduced savings available for public and private investment; and iii) a weak private sector that is far from becoming a driver of growth and creator of jobs. 

Can Seven Middle East and North Africa Countries Break the Poor Policy – Poor Growth Cycle?

Lili Mottaghi's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français


The answer is a conditional ‘Yes’, depending on whether they can accelerate the pace of the structural reforms needed to boost growth in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Libya. A new report from the World Bank,  “Predictions, Perceptions and Economic Reality - Challenges of Seven Middle East and North Africa Countries Described in 14 Charts,” finds that, despite recent signs of economic improvement in Egypt and Tunisia, growth continues to be weak and insufficient to reduce unemployment.

The Case for Regional Integration in the Middle East and North Africa

Aisha Irene Agily's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français


As the job market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region becomes increasingly global and competitive, young people with varying degrees of training and education find themselves struggling to find work. With half its population of 355 million under the age of 25, MENA has the second youngest regional population in the world after sub-Saharan Africa. If this social, economic, and academic malaise continues, a high proportion of the MENA region’s youth will be unable to leave home, get married, and develop independent lives. 

What will happen to the Middle East and North Africa region if the Ukraine crisis escalates?

Lili Mottaghi's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
 Arne Hoel

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea after the popular voting in early March, the European Union and recently the U.S. and Canada have imposed their first round of sanctions—an asset freeze and travel ban on some officials in Russia and Crimea. This week NATO's foreign ministers, warning that Russian troops could invade the eastern part of Ukraine swiftly, ordered an end to civilian and military cooperation with Russia. Should the crisis escalate, potential fallout on Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries is likely. The effects would be transmitted directly through trade and indirectly through commodity prices.

Economic Outlook for the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2014: A Goldilocks Moment?

Farrukh Iqbal's picture
Kuwait
From Flickr

The World Bank’s latest Quarterly Economic Brief for the MENA region warns that short term prospects for many countries in the region are poor.  For reasons related to ongoing political turmoil, these countries face high fiscal and current account deficits and are not undertaking structural reforms that could make things better in the medium run.    On the other hand, one part of the region, the hydrocarbon-rich members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), faces a much rosier short term economic outlook.  This is of some consolation because the GCC economies account for almost half the region’s GDP and have a significant impact on some neighboring economies (including Egypt, Jordan and Yemen) through financial transfers related to remittances, tourism, foreign investment and aid.

Engaging Egyptians Abroad for Investment: What Will it Take?

Stefanie Ridenour's picture

Engaging Egyptians Abroad for Investment: What Will it Take?

Following the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, many Egyptian expatriates turned towards their home country with a renewed sense of hope and desire to participate in the change process. As the political and economic transition is underway, many Egyptians abroad are looking for ways to engage in the transition period, and donors and development agencies are trying to effectively channel their efforts to contribute to development outcomes.

 

A Data-driven Perspective on Islamic Finance

Leora Klapper's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

A Data-driven Perspective on Islamic Finance

To some, Sharia-compliant financial services offer a promising path towards expanding financial inclusion among Muslim adults. To others, these services – which avoid charging interest and seek to conform to Islamic principles of profit- and loss-sharing – do not address the root causes of financial exclusion. But most agree that there is a dearth of empirical research that measures the degree to which Muslims are using Sharia-compliant financial products, their demand for it, and the extent to which they refrain from using conventional financial systems. Without data and related analysis, policymakers and private sector leaders are often speculative in framing the role of Islamic finance within the financial inclusion agenda.

 

Will a return to political stability solve the economic problems in the Middle East and North Africa?

Elena Ianchovichina's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

Will a return to political stability solve the economic problems in the Middle East and North Africa?

In the three years since the Arab Awakening of late 2010, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has seen an increase in conflict and political instability, on the one hand, and a deteriorating economic situation, on the other.  Given the vicious cycle between economic hardship and conflict, it is natural to ask whether a return to political stability will restore prosperity in the region.

Spillovers from the Syrian Crisis Stretching Lebanon to the Breaking Point

Eric Le Borgne's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir

The conflict in Syria, raging into its third year, is devastating the country’s population, economy, and infrastructure.  The impact on neighboring countries, while less visible in the media, is nonetheless real and growing rapidly. At the request of Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the World Bank, in collaboration with the United Nations, the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund, undertook an Economic and Social Impact (ESIA) Assessment of the Syrian conflict on Lebanon. The report, available here, was presented to the newly formed   International Support Group to Lebanon (ISG) at its inaugural meeting on the sidelines of the recent United Nations General Assembly.

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