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Middle East and North Africa

More say in public spending would help Yemenis when the war ends

Walid Al-Najar's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Al Hudaydah's main market, Yemen - Claudiovidri l Shutterstock.com

While waiting for peace negotiations in Kuwait to help end the year of conflict in Yemen after claiming thousands of mainly civilian lives, Yemenis are striving for security to be restored to get back to their normal lives. For a whole year of war—until now—and for four years of political unrest prior to it, people have been worn out by deteriorating living standards and the lack of basic services: food, medicine, fuel, and, above all, security.

Middle-class dynamics and the Arab Spring

Elena Ianchovichina's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Cairo's Tahrir Square, Egypt - Hang Dinh|Shutterstock.com

What do middle-class dynamics in the 2000s tell us about the Arab Spring events? In modern economies, the middle class not only bolsters demand for private goods and services, but also insists on good governance and public services, such as education, health, and infrastructure. Investments in these areas improve the capacity of the economy to grow not only more rapidly, but also sustainably and inclusively. Therefore, understanding how the middle class fares in the Arab world is of crucial importance.

Terrorism makes stability more important to Arab youth than democracy

Christine Petré's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français


Young Arabs express the same concern over the rise of the Islamic State (IS) as young people do elsewhere, the annual Arab Youth Survey reveals. For the second year in a row, the “rise of” IS militants is perceived as the main problem facing the region, with four in every five young people interviewed saying they were more concerned about it than other problems. Its public appeal may have also decreased slightly, findings in the survey suggest.

Can North Africa leapfrog together in work and welfare?

Heba Elgazzar's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Dana Smilie

It was December 8, 2010, when I boarded a plane after a routine trip to Tunisia.  There was nothing out of the ordinary that would have provided a clue as to the dramatic upheaval to come.   The taxi drivers rarely spoke of politics, poverty was an untouchable topic of conversation, and YouTube was blocked.  However, over the course of that winter, uprisings erupted throughout Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and beyond that called for greater social justice.  Investment policies had privileged elites for too long. Social and labor policies had not been that effective at promoting inclusiveness.   Each country has since struggled to maintain political stability while addressing demands for improving work and welfare, with mixed results. 

Reforms that Kuwaiti and DC schools have in common

Simon Thacker's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Maryam Abdullah/World Bank

Garfield Elementary School is in one of Washington, DC’s, poorest neighborhoods and, four years ago, it ranked as one of the least effective schools in the city. “It was a noisy place, more like a summer camp,” explains the current principal, Kennard Branch, “the kids went out on a field trip almost every other day.”

Can debating skills help reduce youth extremism in Tunisia?

Christine Petré's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Young Arab Voices Tunisia - صوت الشباب العربي تونس

Should citizens give up some of their rights in the interest of national security? This and many other questions were up for debate when Tunisian youth came together in the capital of Tunis recently to address one of their country’s most pressing questions.

Young Tunisian entrepreneurs push to change attitudes to jobs

Christine Petré's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Young entrepreneurs - Courtesy of Christine Petre

“There’s no weekend for an entrepreneur,” said 24-year-old Hamdy Ben Salah with a smile, when we met on a sunny Saturday morning at his home-based office, where Elyes Labidi and Boulabiar Marwen—two of his five colleagues—were already sitting in front of their computers. The small room they sit in used to be kept for household garbage. But, with furniture and some paint, today it is the base of AlphaLab.

Tunisia and Italy shine light on how regional electricity trade can help stabilize the region

Sameh Mobarek's picture
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 Anton Balazh l Shutterstock/NASA

The Middle East and North Africa region has never faced such significant stress on its ageing infrastructure like it does today, with one of the most telling being the substantial increase in the need for electricity.  It is estimated that electricity demand in the MENA region will increase by 84% by 2020, requiring an additional 135 GW of generation capacity and an investment of US$450 billion.  The quest for new approaches to ensure adequate and reliable supply of electricity in the region is more urgent than ever before.

Piloting results-based financing for disaster risk and climate resilience in Morocco

Axel Baeumler's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Rain over Djemaa El Fna Square, Marrakech, Morocco - Shanti Hesse l Shutterstock.com

Can results-based financing help countries better prepare for natural disasters? Can we use financial incentives to promote disaster prevention instead of disaster response? And how can insurance programs mitigate the financial fallout that often accompanies disasters? In Morocco, we’ve been working with the government to pilot the World Bank’s first Program-for-Results (PforR) loan in disaster risk management and resilience.

How the Middle East and North Africa can benefit from low oil prices

Shanta Devarajan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
AlexLMX l Shutterstock

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a region of extremes. It has the highest unemployment rate in the developing world, with the rate for women and young people double the average. MENA economies are among the least diversified, with the Herfindahl index—a measure of the concentration of exports in a few commodities—ranging between 0.6 and 1 for most countries. The region had the highest number of electricity cuts per month. The ratio of public- to private-sector workers is the highest in the world.  While, until recently, the region had been averaging 4-5 percent GDP growth, that average masked a highly volatile growth path.

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