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The Middle East and North Africa cannot miss the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Ferid Belhaj's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

The traditional route of industrialization for developing countries may no longer be available for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This should not be a source of regret, as the aspirations of the region’s young and well-educated population extend far beyond auto assembly lines. Furthermore, the repetitive work of an assembly line will increasingly be performed by machines rather than people. The rapid pace of technological change that is propelling this process, dubbed the "Fourth Industrial Revolution," offers new opportunities for developing countries. Opportunities the MENA region cannot afford to miss. 

Invest in women to boost growth in MENA

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

Only one in five working-age women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has a job or is actively looking for one. Currently, women make up only 21% of the labor force and only contribute 18% to MENA’s overall GDP. Had the gender gap in labor force participation been narrowed over the past decade, the GDP growth rate in MENA could have doubled or increased by about US$1 trillion in cumulative output. Instead, the current gender gap in the traditional labor market has extended to the rest of the economy, including the technology sector, impacting women’s access to, and use of, digital services. Women are 9% less likely to own a mobile phone and 21% less likely than men to use mobile internet. 

Clean tech start-ups: Enabling their success in emerging markets & helping the climate too

Raj Nandy's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية


​When Fatima Beraich started Biodome, a biogas company in Morocco, she wanted to create a better designed waste digester to turn organic waste into biogas as a sustainable source for power supply. She attracted a few customers but lacked process and product design support to scale up her operations. Many green businesses like Fatima’s have products at the core of their business model...

Smart regulation is key for creating a new digital economy in MENA

Andrea Barone's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

The call for the transformation of the role of the state contained in the latest MENA Economic Monitor (MEM) cannot be overemphasized. For the "moonshot approach" to the new digital economy to succeed in generating equitable growth and creating millions of jobs, public authorities in the region must become effective regulators. Indeed, digitization poses a set of unique economic, political, and social challenges that require defining clear "rules of the game".

Yemen’s private sector teaming up to support humanitarian and recovery efforts

Sami Sofan's picture
Also available in: العربية


Since 2015, the Republic of Yemen has been overtaken by a brutal conflict that has resulted in massive casualties, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced families, substantial infrastructure damage, and hampered service delivery across both the economy and society. In total, according to the 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, approximately 22.2 million people, roughly 75 percent of the population, are in need of some manner of humanitarian or protection assistance.
 

Solving the water crisis in Beirut

Saroj Kumar Jha's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Patrick Abi Salloum / World Bank

In many ways, Beirut is the capital of resilience and generosity. Over the centuries, the city has embraced, and continues to embrace, civilizations and cultures of diverse backgrounds and colors, and today, it stands as resilient as ever in the face of subsequent protracted crises in its neighborhood. 

Despite all of their natural advantages, though, residents of Beirut are sorely lacking in one basic ingredient of life – water. Beirut’s roads attest to this reality, as they often get clogged with water tanks, whose roaring engines provide a backdrop to the sounds of the city. Lebanon’s severe water shortage affects 1.6 million people in Beirut and the Mount Lebanon area, but especially the poorest neighborhoods of the city where 460,000 residents living on less than $4 a day have to make do with only a few hours of drinking water each day. In some parts of the city, that can be as low as three hours a day in summertime, the peak of the crisis. 

Changing the lives of Egyptian people left behind for a long time: Taha’s Story

Amal Faltas's picture
Also available in: العربية

"It was the first time we talked while the officials listened. Not as in the past, when they used to talk and we just listened."

With this simple statement, Taha Al-Leithi, a young Egyptian man from the village of Rawafei al-Qusayr in Sohag in Upper Egypt, described the fundamental change introduced by the local development forums to citizens’ participation in the development process in Sohag, and the relationship between government officials and citizens. 

Al-Leithi and his peers have never participated in any development decision concerning their village or its markaz (center). They had never been invited to develop or even discuss the annual investment plan for the markaz or governorate. Taha says he, like other young people in the village, had believed that planning and selecting projects were tasks done in closed rooms, and that the central government in Cairo alone decided the needs of villages and towns in Sohag governorate, 500 kilometers south of the capital. 

Measuring regional poverty in MENA: Update and remaining challenges

Aziz Atamanov's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية


​When the World Bank recently released the 2018 Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report; Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle, which includes the global and regional poverty estimates, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) stood out for two particular reasons. First, the MENA region is the only region where the extreme poverty rate increased between 2011 and 2015.

Water, food, and energy in the Arab World: A collective challenge

Anders Jagerskog's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 

Groundwater is fast disappearing in the Middle East and North Africa region. Under a business-as-usual approach to the use of these scarce resources, it is estimated that they will be gone in about 30 years. This will have a devasting impact on the communities and livelihoods that rely on this water. Agricultural production would drop by as much as 60% in some countries. 

Yemen: Where humanitarian and development efforts meet

Raja Bentaouet Kattan's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français



The poorest country in the Middle East and North Africa even prior to the conflict, Yemen has through violence and subsequent economic freefall landed at the epicenter of a series of interrelated emergencies that the United Nations describes as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” This is the first of a three-part blog series on the Bank’s response in Yemen.

In July of this year, I assumed the role of Country Manager for Yemen. Much has happened in my first 100 days as CM. 

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