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Middle East and North Africa

Developing but growing less happy: what explains this paradox in the Arab world?

Elena Ianchovichina's picture
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The events of the Arab Spring took the world by surprise: there were no obvious signs of an approaching storm in the Levant and the Maghreb. Objective measures—used on a regular basis—showed that economies in these parts of the Middle East and North Africa grew at a moderate pace, had low and declining rates of absolute poverty, low-to-moderate income inequality, as well as decreasing child mortality rates and increasing levels of literacy and life expectancy. 

Tunisian youth and security, five years after the revolution

Christine Petré's picture
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Tunisian man standing in front of El Jem amphitheater in Tunisia Shutterstock l Eric Fahrner

The five-year-anniversary of the Tunisian revolution comes shortly after the Quartet accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. The prize was awarded in recognition of its commitment to dialogue and consensus during one of the country’s most challenging periods. Yet the anniversary is overshadowed by this year’s three terrorist attacks. 

Middle East moves from power cuts to sustainable energy and lower emissions

Charles Cormier's picture
Also available in: العربية
Switched ON Lightbulb in the Shape of the World - Shutterstock l tr3gin

The agreement reached by 196 countries at Paris to collectively work to limit the growth of global average temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is a landmark for efforts to avert the worst impact of climate change.  At Paris, each agreed to do its part to promote sustainable energy.  Countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are willing to do their share to mitigate climate change, as demonstrated by their respective Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. 

Jordan: A home away from home for Syrian refugees

Ayat Soliman's picture
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School in Jordan - Courtesy of Ayat Soliman l World Bank

Nine year old Reem probably had one of the shortest distances that Syrian refugees had to travel when fleeing the crisis in their country in 2012. Her family walked 30 km from their town of Deraa --in the South-west of Syria-- to the municipality of Al Sarhan right at the border in Jordan, where they have been living since. This place is as close as it gets for a Syrian child to feel at home, with the same spoken language, environment, similar culture and traditions and oftentimes distant family relations that connect the tribes over generations. Yet, feeling at home is more than just that for Reem. 

A visit to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Hafez Ghanem's picture
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Lebanon - Mohamed Azakir - World Bank

The Syrian refugee crisis is now at the top of the international agenda.  Pictures of refugees crossing the Mediterranean and risking their lives and that of their families have shook the world.   The picture of a dead boy on the beach in Turkey brought many of us to tears.  The Syrian refugee crisis is an awful human tragedy.   The kind of tragedy that should not have been allowed to happen in the 21st century.

An encounter with a dynamic and forward-looking Tunisia

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly's picture
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Young Tunisians - Arne Hoel l World Bank

Driven by the conviction that a solid partnership cannot be built unilaterally from Washington, we visited Tunisia to engage in consultations on the ground, on the new partnership strategy between Tunisia and the World Bank Group.  Despite the convulsions caused by the attacks on the Bardo museum, in Sousse and just recently in the center of Tunis, Tunisia is continuing its process of transition and is committed to its success. 

How climate change contributed to the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa

Mohamed Abdallah Youness's picture
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The Climate Change conference in Paris only confirmed what we already knew—that increasingly, there’s an overlap between conventional security threats of a military nature, which are focused on nations, and unconventional security threats of an environmental, social, and humanitarian nature, which are focused on societies and individuals. Thus, the phenomenon of climate change has brought about new security threats, such as internal conflict, terrorism, and instability.

Anti-corruption: Tunisia tops transparency in military spending but still “high risk” of corruption in defense

Christine Petré's picture
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Shutterstock l angelh l Tashatuvango

Defense budgets are not publicly available, oversight is weak, and information about hidden spending is non-existent, says Transparency International-UK (TI-UK) of defense spending by the 17 governments it has scrutinized in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as part of a new global report. 

Low oil prices give Gulf countries reason to focus on clean energy and productivity

Waleed Alsuraih's picture
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 Shutterstock l  Marynchenko Oleksandr

The 2014/15 oil price collapse may actually provide an opportunity for the Gulf region to focus on “green” economic thinking and on maximizing energy productivity overall. Given their large hydrocarbon resources, the GCC in particular has a large stake in the global transition towards sustainable energy. 

Climate change finds the lost world of Socotra Island

Ahmad Lajam's picture
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Boat trip in Socotra by HopeHill

I wasn’t in Socotra or the southern Yemeni city of Aden when the two cyclones hit them in mid-November, but I have a big family and many friends who live there. As I listened intently to the news, I was thinking about the impact of natural disasters on top of man-made ones, such as conflict, and wondering why poor Yemenis have to pay a price for things they haven’t caused and are not always a part of. 

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