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Middle East and North Africa

Notes From the Field: Taking On Politics, Shifting Paradigms

Miles McKenna's picture

Editor's Note: "Notes From the Field" is an occasional feature where we let World Bank professionals conducting interesting trade-related projects around the globe explain some of the challenges and triumphs of their day-to-day work. The views expressed here are personal and should not be attributed to the World Bank. All interviews have been edited for clarity.

The interview below was conducted with Manjula Luthria, a Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional division of the Human Development Network. Ms. Luthria's work focuses migration, labor mobility, and social protection. She spoke with us about her early experiences as a country economist for the Pacific Islands region, and how lessons learned there have come to inform the programs and projects her unit works on today.
 

The Missing Conversation: How to Build a Moral Capitalism in the Arab Region

Ishac Diwan's picture

A young Egyptian holding a flag The Arab transition countries, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, are grappling with complex issues relating to personal values, the extent of freedom of speech, individual rights,  family matters, that all orbit around deep issues of identity and the respective roles of the individual, the state and society. These social conversations are constructive in that they reflect a rich pluralism of views in societies where conformity was the rule under dictatorship. But unfortunately, these dialogues are polarizing society, leading to violence and threatening chaos and a possible return to authoritarianism. In fact, the current social polarization to a large extent reflects attempts by political entrepreneurs to use existing social fault lines, and even exacerbate them, in ways that mobilize passions among possible supporters, driven to over-reach by the political vacuum created by the departure of the historical autocrats. The dynamics in Morocco, Jordan, Algeria, and Lebanon are slightly different, but here too, the intense and exclusive focus on identity is crowding out more important and immediate social and economic challenges.

It’s time for an ambitious Global Youth Agenda

Gloria La Cava's picture

It’s time for an ambitious Global Youth Agenda

Half of today’s world population is under 25 years old. The growing share of young men and women globally has not yet reached its peak and will continue to increase over the next two decades. Eradicating poverty will not be possible if the needs of this young cohort are not treated with careful attention. In the coming 10 years, 47 million jobs will be needed - nearly 400,000 jobs per month - in order to absorb the young generation into the workforce. The challenge is too great to be treated with a business-as-usual approach, and no individual stakeholder alone is capable of offering a comprehensive solution.

Leveraging Financial Inclusion to Promote Economic Development in Egypt

Leveraging Financial Inclusion to Promote Economic Development in Egypt - Photo: Arne Hoel

Egyptian policymakers are facing a significant challenge: how to address acute economic challenges while managing ongoing political and social transitions. Output in major sectors of the economy (construction, trade, and tourism) remain weak while foreign direct investment (FDI), once a core tenant of Egyptian growth, reached nearly zero in the second quarter of this year. The Egyptian unemployment rate, which traditionally hovered around 9.5 percent in the years preceding the revolution, has increased to 13.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

Accountability for Public Services: Do You See a Solution?

Hana Brixi's picture

Accountability for Public Services: Do You See a Solution? - Photo: Arne Hoel

“Kefaya!”

“Kefaya!” (“Enough!” in Arabic), was one of the main slogans in 2011 as people took to the streets and called for social justice.  Although change has taken various forms across the region, the quest for social justice remains prevalent throughout.

One of the key ways to promote social justice is through better public services. As surveys suggest, social justice for citizens largely means equal access to quality public services such as healthcare and education.

Egypt: Subsidy reform and social safety nets are 2 sides of same coin

Guest Blogger's picture

Egypt: Subsidy reform and social safety nets are 2 sides of same coin - Photo: Emad Abd El Hady

Egyptian writer and commentator Bassem Sabry talks to Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Director for Djibouti, Egypt and Yemen about the economic challenges facing Cairo.

Sabry: What do you think are the questions that are missing from the discussion on Egypt right now?

Schafer: I think the question is, what is the priority right now for Egypt? If we go back two and a half years, the revolution was basically the result of growing exclusion and inequality. And that is still, in my view, the top priority.

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.

 

The Threat of Natural Disasters in the Arab Region: How to Weather the Storm

Andrea Zanon's picture

The Threat of Natural Disasters in the Arab Region: How to Weather the Storm

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is no stranger to severe weather, floods, and earthquakes. The number of natural disasters around the world has almost doubled since the 1980s, in MENA it has almost tripled. Over the past decade, governments in the region have developed a better understanding of the risks posed by natural disasters and the measures needed to prepare for them. In support of their efforts, the World Bank has prepared a report, Natural Disasters in the Middle East and North Africa: A Regional Overview,which aims to highlight the natural hazards facing the region and the progress made in tackling these challenges.

What is Disaster Risk Management?

Franck Bousquet's picture
Video


There is an Arabic proverb that says it is better to prevent than to cure.
This is exactly the premise of disaster risk management.
Why is it important for people and governments in the Arab world?

As Franck Bousquet, Sector Manager of Urban, Social and Disaster Risk Management explains: While the number of disasters worldwide has doubled, in the Middle East and North Africa region it has tripled.


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