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Middle East and North Africa

Moving beyond street protests: Building social accountability in the Arab world

Line Zouhour's picture
Young man in the streets of Tripoli

At the heart of the upheavals that swept across the Middle East region during the Arab Spring was the call for more transparent, fair and accountable government. In the aftermath of the uprisings, specialists are left to address the issue of transition to democratic rule. In doing so, they have to answer the following questions: how can we systemize the culture of accountability and democratic governance? How can we channel the popular energy of street mobilization into a powerful institution that keeps duty-bearers in check?
 

New technology changes the working day, offering a strategy for more jobs in the Middle East

Kara Schoeffling's picture
  Arne Hoel

It’s no secret that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has the highest youth unemployment rate in the entire world: nearly 30% according to the International Labour Organization. Over one in four young people have no viable means for economic prosperity, and sadly education is no guarantor of a job. Despite these bleak statistics, a recent survey commissioned by Qatar’s telecom giant, Orredoo, suggests that young people still have hope of a great future, fueled in large part by the innovations of the 21st century. The challenge is to innovate technology and alter our way of thinking about work to motivate MENA’s youth.
 

All in the Family

Bob Rijkers's picture

Crony capitalism is the key development challenge facing Tunisia today

A plaque for Place de 14 janvier, 2011, Last week’s Economist magazine focused on Crony Capitalism.  From the powerful oil barons in the USA in the 1920s to today’s oligarchs in Russia and Ukraine, they show that such entrenched interests have been a major concern over time and around the globe.  North Africa is no exception. The fortunes  accumulated by the family and friends of President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt were so obscene that they helped trigger the Arab Spring revolutions, with protestors demanding an end to corruption by the elite.

A Fragile Country Tale: Restrictions, Trade Deficits, and Aid Dependence

Massimiliano Calì's picture

 Masaru Goto, World BankPart of the World Bank’s new vision is to step up its efforts to help fragile and conflict-afflicted states break the vicious cycle of poverty. But this is no easy task.
 
The destruction of productive assets and the restrictions on the capacity to produce are among the most severe economic impacts of conflicts and fragility. These effects explain why countries in conflict or emerging out of conflict typically have very large trade deficits. The productive sector is often particularly weak by international standards, so exports are low and domestic consumption has to rely on imports. Indeed, five of the ten countries with the largest trade deficit in the world (Timor-Leste, Liberia, the Palestinian territories, Kosovo and Haiti) are considered fragile by the World Bank and other regional development banks (figure 1).
 

Expanding the Global Youth Agenda beyond Jobs

Gloria La Cava's picture
Young man from MENA

Youth exclusion- is a challenge of staggering proportions in the post-2015 development agenda. Since 2011, disenchantment among the largest youth cohort in history has channeled itself into movements challenging the status quo in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Europe, and Latin America. Popular protests have been called not just for jobs but for changing the old order, for a voice on policies that impact the future of youth, and for justice, freedom and dignity. 

All in the Family

Bob Rijkers's picture
 Arne Hoel

Crony capitalism is the key development challenge facing Tunisia today


Last week’s Economist magazine focused on Crony Capitalism.  From the powerful oil barons in the USA in the 1920s to today’s oligarchs in Russia and Ukraine, they show that such entrenched interests have been a major concern over time and around the globe.  North Africa is no exception. The fortunes  accumulated by the family and friends of President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt were so obscene that they helped trigger the Arab Spring revolutions, with protestors demanding an end to corruption by the elite.

More crop per drop in the Middle East and North Africa

Inger Andersen's picture
Interview
Water is a scarce commodity: we should take care of it.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region there is really very little choice. The region only receives about two percent of the world’s annual precipitation and holds about 1.2 percent of the world’s renewable water resources. This makes water a deeply precious and scarce resource.  The statistics are stark: The amount of water consumed in the United States averages 2,800 cubic meters per person per year, whereas in Yemen, it is 100 cubic meters per person. 
 

Impactful Partnerships between Non-State Providers: A Perspective from the Egypt DM

Ranya Abdel Baki's picture

In Egypt, the social enterprise movement has gained momentum in the years since the January 25, 2011 revolution. This moment in history gave Egyptian youth a sense of belonging and control over thier future they had not previously felt; manifesting itself in a proliferation of young social entrepreneurs who are determined to translate their long held dreams into tangible outcomes that help their communities.

Young Egyptian social entrepreneurs join youth across the developing world in pioneering new ways to provide basic services to their local communities. The power of these emerging non-state providers (NSPs) is especially successful in post conflict fragile states like Egypt. While the state rebuilds itself and its capacity to deliver services, NSPs are able to satisfy the urgent need for basic services, stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and reduce poverty through their sustainable market-based, socio-economic solutions.

Promoting Social Entrepreneurship in Morocco

Diego Angel-Urdinola's picture
 Arne Hoel

Youssef lives in a small and disadvantaged rural province in the south of Morocco. He is a manufacturing worker in a local factory. He has two children aged 10 and 12. The public school his children could attend is far from the factory and has been in the process of rehabilitation for several years. Student and teacher absenteeism is quite high, especially during the winter because the school has no heating and roads to the school are in poor condition.

Yemen’s Qat Addiction Worsens

Mustapha Rouis's picture
 Peer Gatter

Yemen is mostly in the news these days for its political transition. This has obscured a longstanding issue, the chewing of qat, which has equally important consequences for the country.
 
Qat is a mild narcotic leaf popular in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.  Excessive qat-chewing has disastrous impacts on health, education, and productivity. We illustrated this for Yemen in a report we prepared in 2007 (see here).  The situation today is probably just as bad, if not worse. 

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