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Global Economy

Bruegel seminar on EU-MENA Integration Challenges

Inger Andersen's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
World Bank | Dana SmillieToday at Bruegel—one of the leading European think tanks—we exchanged views on the way forward for the Middle East and North Africa countries one year after the Arab Spring. Jean Pisani-Ferry (Director, Bruegel) chaired a discussion focused on EU-MENA integration to jump start growth and job creation in the MENA region. Various experts reflected on the current European approach to foster greater regional integration with and within the MENA countries.

Ask the experts! Upcoming MENA Forum on Economic and Political Transitions

Caroline Freund's picture
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The year 2011 will be remembered as the year of the Arab Spring. Revolutions brought new governments to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, while a number of other governments in the region introduced important reforms.  The peoples’ demands are clear: democracy, dignity, better governance, and a more inclusive growth model.  Now is the time to deliver. Yet, the political, economic and social developments are shifting and it is not clear how the population’s heightened expectations can be met. 

Can the Arab Spring spur regional integration?

Omer Karasapan's picture
The list of challenging issues that led to the Arab Spring are now well known and will need to be overcome to meet the aspirations of the people of the region. These range from governance, education and bloated public sectors to a correspondingly weak private sector, all of which crystallize around the issue of employment, particularly for youth and women. The OECD's "Arab World Competitiveness Report, 2011-2012" estimates that 25 million jobs will be needed over the next decade just to keep unemployment at current levels (over 10%).

Tunisia one year after the Revolution: which priorities should the World Bank support?

Eileen Murray's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

Tunisia demonstrated one year ago that citizens' voice matters. Accountability is a must.  Government legitimacy is key. Starting from Tunisia, a wave of revolutions now commonly referred to as the "Arab Spring" spread to the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Citizens demanded voice, accountability and opportunity for all, not only for a selected few and mostly privileged. The World Bank has taken significant steps to support this rapid and positive change. 

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

Nadereh Chamlou's picture
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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. Interview: A reform agenda for Arab economies

Guest Blogger's picture
Jonathan Masters, Associate Staff Writer for the 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.

Why growth in MENA is so volatile

Lili Mottaghi's picture
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Regional uncertainty in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has brought economic challenges and slower growth.  The weakening global economy due to the Eurozone crisis has lowered the prospects for a rebound next year. A major factor that could affect the growth in MENA is whether a downturn in European Union (EU) affects the price and quantity of oil. Our new report MENA: Eurozone Storm on the Horizon  finds that a looming crisis in the Eurozone could severely impact the region, especially if it is accompanied by lower oil prices.

Social media and the Arab Spring: Where did they learn that?

Will Stebbins's picture
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When it comes to answering the tricky question of why increased enrollment in higher education, one of the region's notable successes, has not translated into increased employment gains, one common theme is a mismatch of skills. The skills being taught just aren't relevant to the new global economy. Yet the 'Arab Spring' revealed a generation that had a very sophisticated grasp of new technologies, and that had come up with ingenious ways of using them to organize and mobilize. A generation that was also clearly capable of critical thought and effective communication. This was evident in the ability to identify and articulate a collective sense of economic and political exclusion. In Tahrir Square, they displayed a high degree of creativity and enterprise.

Services versus manufacturing: which matters more for growth and jobs in MENA?

Christina A. Wood's picture
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In addition to increasing globalization, which has been key to rapid growth for many countries, an emerging debate is which sector, services or manufacturing, could be the main source of growth for developing countries today. The East Asian middle and high income countries globalized through manufacturing-led activities, having followed the traditional development path from agriculture through manufacturing and only later to services. For the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, which sector path to growth, services or manufacturing, could emerge and be fostered?

Transitions can be good for growth

Caroline Freund's picture
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Many of the Middle East and North African countries are embarking on transitions with the goal of developing more open and accountable governments.  Like the East Europeans and others before them, they will face challenges in the short run, as business is disrupted and investors wait for uncertainty to be resolved.  Evidence from 47 recent transitions shows that growth declines by about 3-4 percentage points, on average, during such transitions.  The good news is the decline tends to be short lived, with the dip lasting only one year and growth then resuming or exceeding pre-transition levels.