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Global Economy

Global Economy and Development Roundup

Swati Mishra's picture

In the recently released Global Economic Prospects June 2012, World Bank experts warned of long period of volatility. Resurgence of the Euro Area tensions had eroded economic gains of first 4 months of 2012, said the report.  And as the leaders of the 27 European Nations convened in Brussels yesterday to tackle the crisis, it was labeled as the “last chance” summit. The outcome: Up All Night, But Consensus Finally Reached, says a Time.com story. According to the story, published today, “Yet, despite what were described as tense and grinding negotiations, decisions announced early Friday morning appear to represent important steps towards the survival of the embattled euro zone—and in both the short- and long-term context of the crisis.” This much needed move comes at a crucial point and will hopefully have a positive impact on developing countries. However, a lot remains to be done. Following is a sampling of some interesting research and analysis by World Bank as well as others highlighting issues of current import to global economy and development.

How did US and EU trade policy withstand the Great Recession?

Chad P Bown's picture

Many feared a return of 1930s-style protectionism when recession hit the global economy. But many countries avoided this. In a blog post, co-authored with Meredith Crowley, I focus on US and EU trade policy and discuss how this policy withstood the ‘Great Recession.’ The following is an excerpt from the post which appeared on Vox.

“During the Great Recession, import protection increased around the world (Evenett, 2011). Popular policies included antidumping tariffs, safeguards, and other temporary trade barriers (Bown 2011a,b). Despite this, for high-income economies such as the US and EU, such trade barriers increased much less than initially feared. In this column, we ask how and why.

Growth strengthens in MENA, but vulnerabilities persist

Elena Ianchovichina's picture

Our latest regional outlook shows a two-track path for growth in MENA. In 2012 oil exporters are likely to fare much better than oil importers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Growth of MENA’s oil exporting countries will be strong and rise from the average of 3.4 percent in 2011 to 5.4 percent in 2012. The new Regional Economic Update presents the outlook for MENA in the context of rapidly-evolving global and domestic environments, recognizing the linkages that matter for shaping country-specific outlooks and the multiple risks that could alter them.

Is “the Egyptian botagas story” running out of gas?

Vladislav Vucetic's picture

Kim Eun YeulEveryone in Egypt has a botagas story. If you walk the busy and pleasantly noisy Cairo streets, as I often do in the early evening during my visits, you pass scores of fast-food shops, cafés, and makeshift tea stands, their bluish botagas flames burning steadily in the fading light. I am sure their owners have many botagas stories to tell. Newspapers often run these stories as well, usually with a photo of a queue of people with mixed expressions – a few smiling faces leaving with heavy bottles and many more anxiously waiting to try their luck. My colleague Khaled tells his own story in the accompanying “botagas” blog and it also ends on an unhappy note: botagas is not easy to get nowadays. So, what is behind these unhappy botagas stories?

Enabling employment miracles

Caroline Freund's picture
World Bank | Arne Hoel | 2011How can policymakers engineer enduring reductions in unemployment? Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) Regional Economic Update confronts this question head on. It looks back historically to examine how countries have generated episodes of swift, significant, and sustained unemployment reductions. These we call employment miracles. And to make miracles happen the analysis unambiguously points towards prudent macroeconomic management, sound regulation and good governance as critical enablers of job creation.

Tourism: For those looking for shovel ready projects

Omer Karasapan's picture
World Bank | Dale Lautenbach | 2012Tourism is one of the world's largest and fastest growing sectors, making up 5% of the world's GDP and 30% of the global export of services (over $1 trillion). In 2010 alone, there were some 1 billion tourists worldwide, 60 million of whom traveled to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. International Tourism receipts amounted to $900 billion - MENA's share making up roughly 6% of the total, around $50 billion. Overall, MENA tends to underperform slightly, not only in terms of the number of visitors and monetary inflows, but also in its potential to generate employment.   

Avoiding group think on Arab world

Guest Blogger's picture
World Bank | 2012“I was hoping to hear about Arab countries...why are we hearing a case study of Pakistan?” exclaimed an attendee of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Chief Economist’s Forum at the World Bank.  Although the purpose was to draw upon lessons learned from a variety of countries, I still felt that the attendee’s criticism hinted at an exclusionary paradigm - even if the object of the criticism was from an Economics Nobel Laureate, Roger Myerson. True: over 20 Arab countries make up the MENA region.  Yet the topics and recent remarks at the Wharton Business School’s MENA conference challenge the exclusionary paradigm that fuels such criticism. 

Innovate and become a Super Nimer!

Simon Bell's picture
World Bank | Arne Hoel Increased competition is critical to bringing in new ideas, new ways of thinking, new products, new markets, and new approaches, so as to generate new jobs for women, the youth of the region, and for those who live at the bottom of the pyramid.  In other words, greater competition will breed greater innovation, and more of the middle income jobs that the region requires.  Innovation in its simplest form means simply Doing Different Things and Doing Things Differently” (DDT-DTD).

Bruegel seminar on EU-MENA Integration Challenges

Inger Andersen's picture
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
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. 

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