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  • Reply to: Forcibly Displaced: How MENA Can Reverse its Human Capital Depreciation   6 months 2 weeks ago

    Thank you for writing this. It sheds light on a very important issue in the region. I wanted to highlight that gender dynamics go beyond public health concerns and youth employment opportunities. Despite some small wins, there are still huge barriers and many setbacks for women's rights and gender justice issues in MENA - with many linked to the region's political economy. We often refer to to UN/WB research, when trying to address the fact that female labour force participation in the region is the lowest in the world and rising (too) slowly. With the high intensity of conflict in the fragile region, we struggle to keep women's rights on the agenda - trying to persuade policy-makers that now is the time to discuss women's rights (not leaving these issues only for the post-conflict, development phases).

  • Reply to: My journey to Aden   9 months 1 day ago

    This article made my heart breaks and just cried. I can not help it. Although, myself not a Yemeni, I lived in Yemen for 4 years and I attest to what Faiza says about the past smiling and beautiful Aden used to be.

    Lastly, I am from a ruined and a past genocide country in Africa, but with hope, faith and determination from our people the country is now getting on its feet. This is my prayers for Yemen too.

    See you soon in again smiling Aden

  • Reply to: A Glimpse of Light in Yemen: Enabling a booming solar industry through entrepreneurship and innovation   9 months 4 weeks ago

    Fantastic article. Clearly lays out the importance of distributed solar and how its addressing the short -term needs and delivering electricity to consumers in Yemen and proving that solar is particularly important not only because its affordable, reliable, and quicker to deploy but also as it is less " damage prone" and resilient to conflicts compared to large-scale infrastructure. We have seen similar experiences in Haiti and more recently in Puerto Rico as well.

    The importance of quality of products and after-sales servicing facilities for these technologies is the key to scaling up the transformation of this market, as clearly stated in your article. One could possibly draw from the World bank's Lighting Africa experience where the situation was similar in early 2000s, with standardization and quality specs along with capacity building, training and awareness generation facilitated by Lighting Africa went a long way in successfully shifting the solar PV markets in the region to adopt globally-acceptable standards in terms of quality of products being sold there today.

    One more point that I was curious to know and personally interested to explore further in the Yemen context is - especially wrt your point regarding solar PV not being sufficient to meet all the current needs and WBG survey concluding that only 10 percent HHs feel that they have sufficient energy to meet their needs, one could explore hybrid solutions where solar combined with energy efficient appliances (ranging from efficient LED lamps to DC-powered TVs) could multiply the benefits for the households very cost-effectively even when using solar PV with limited capacity. Essentially, the idea would be to “squeeze” as much “Final energy” or “End use” energy as possible from a solar PV panel of limited size …. Implementation and business models along these lines of integrated EE-RE interventions are already emerging in Africa and South Asia countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where entrepreneurs have come up with viable business practices where they just don't sell solar panels but sell packaged energy end use solutions – which combines solar panel with a bunch of LED lamps, a super-efficient small color TV (sometimes DC based), a super-efficient ceiling or table fan – effectively cutting the size and cost of solar PV to as much as half the traditional size (with BAU appliances) or allowing the consumers to get more lumens, more fans with same size solar PV panels… This model is quite viable in terms of initial costs and payback periods. We are trying to explore these integration approaches through new private sector driven delivery models further in the new ESMAP – funded Yemen activity but these also could be explored and pilot tested in both the World Bank Yemen IDA operations under implementation – It will be good to explore if energy efficiency measures can be built into into more robust integrated solutions and business models in the rural and peri-urban context as well, making it more viable to low income and poor consumers.

  • Reply to: Update from Iran: Iran’s Over-Education Crises   10 months 6 days ago

    Dear Amin,

    No country can reduce the number of people who attend universities from the top down, without suffering serious social backlash. People see higher education as a gateway to a better life, and a prerequisite for marriage, you cannot deprive them of that right just because there are more graduates than you want.

    There has to be either incentives or promotions of vocational trades. Your talking about a country
    where there is a huge stigma against people that don't attend university. You have to undue that mentality first. Then people would voluntarily see other paths as viable alternatives to universities.

    But a better solution that I believe in is the expansion of the Iranian market to be able to absorb the graduates. Already we are seeing the growth of Iranian influence in Syria and the next elections in Iraq will likely be an increase to Iranian political presence in that country. If Iran expands to the markets of its surrounding neighbors, it will reap the benefits of having a determined and driven people, who attend universities at such a high rate.

  • Reply to: The Problem of Unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa Explained in Three Charts   10 months 6 days ago

    The enduring question is which type of unemployment prevails in MENA countries - frictional-cyclical or structural- the answer of this question in important when we want to model the labor market in those countries (à la Mortensen-Pissarides for example)? As I know that when the country is suffering from a structural unemployment a model that features a matching function it not appropriate instead an over-education model should be developed, isn't it?
    thanks for all the information that you shared through the blog