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Middle East and North Africa

The legal problems of refugees

Paul Prettitore's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Refugees - Lukasz Z l Shutterstock

Like other vulnerable people, refugees are likely to encounter legal problems. These problems are often linked directly to their displacement, but also reflect general problems poor people encounter related to family, civil, and criminal matters. The longer a person’s displacement, the more legal problems that tend to arise, especially those problems that are less closely linked to displacement.  And these problems begin to strain local institutions.  The Ministry of Justice has reported increased caseloads of 84 percent in Mafraq, 77 percent in Irbid and 50 percent in Amman, all of which are areas with considerable refugee populations.

Getting Syrians back to work – a win-win for host countries and the refugees

John Speakman's picture
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 John Speakman l World Bank

For the last six weeks or so I have been more or less full time engaged in thinking about how we can generate employment opportunities for Syrians in countries that are hosting them, particularly those located in Syria’s near neighbors.  I have reflected on my experience in working on private sector development in Syria nearly a decade ago.  As someone who had worked in virtually every country in the Middle East I was amazed at the country’s industrial potential. 

Iran’s return to the oil market: Who benefits and who loses?

Elena Ianchovichina's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Teheran, Iran - Borna_Mirahmadian l Shutterstock

The collapse of oil prices to levels unseen since the early 2000s has shaken markets and confidence in the health of major economies. Expert opinions about the factors driving the steep descent in oil prices include the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran. Yet, there is no consensus on the extent to which Iran’s return to markets has affected oil prices or the welfare of affected parties.

Counting the costs of the war in Syria

Ghanimah Al-Otaibi's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية


Measuring the impact of war on Syria is an ongoing challenge as the conflict continues to devastate the lives of people and their communities. However, efforts to understand the nature and extent of the damage are essential for identifying immediate needs, and for preparing reconstruction plans that can be launched at the first sign of peace.

Jordan’s Syrian Refugees – what a difference a year makes

Omer Karasapan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
 Shutterstock l Melih Cevdet Teksen

In February 2015 a blog in these pages tried to draw attention to the plight of the Syrian refugees in Jordan. This was before the drastic cuts in aid over 2015 by severely underfunded humanitarian agencies and before the massive refugee influx into Europe. For Syria’s neighboring countries, Europe’s “refugee crisis” was only the latest stage of a much bigger crisis they had been weathering since  2011. That same blog had also called for greater outside support for Jordan and its host communities - as well as for the refugees - and there are encouraging signs on both fronts, even as the severity of the crisis continues to grow.

One school sets an example for changes in public education in Egypt

Esmat Lamei's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Almarag School

In 2014, a Cooperation Protocol was signed by the Egyptian Ministry of Education, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, and the Oasis International school, a private school established in 1989 to build a model public school known as the Egyptian International School—El Marag, offering the IB program.

Pro-poor health coverage expands in Egypt

Alaa Hamed's picture
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 Amira Nour & Sarah Fouad

After the Arab Spring, Egypt’s health sector went through a shaky transition as seven consecutive Egyptian Ministers of Health struggled to make the sector live up to the revolution’s ideal of a  health sector that would serve to uphold human dignity and social justice. Pre-revolution reforms to the sector had focused on expanding access to essential services in family health and to health insurance coverage. The political environment and the sector’s limited capacity had not, however, made it possible for these pilot schemes to be scaled up properly, with a pro-poor focus.

Just across the Mediterranean – The Transition from COP21 to COP22

Jonathan Walters's picture
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Rabat, Morocco - Arne Hoel l World Bank

France has just hosted COP21 to a very successful conclusion: the 2015 Paris Agreement. This achieved consensus among 196 countries on the most complex and challenging global issue of our time – climate change. It reconciled the widely different perspectives and interests of developing and developed countries, the North-South divide which has been at the heart of the failure to reach climate change agreement for twenty years. It makes global trade negotiations look easy by comparison. France should have every confidence in its diplomatic and political ability. Chapeau!

Microfinance needed in Iraq more urgently now than ever

Nadine Chehade's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Najaf, Iraq - Shutterstock l photo story

How can development practitioners promote economic development for parts of the Arab world affected by conflict and fragility? The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) has featured various solutions in a recent blog series on financial inclusion during crises. These blogs highlight the fact that although conflict, violence, and uncertainty make development difficult, solid financial infrastructure for small-scale lending can help people weather a crisis or, in other words, support their economic resilience.

Tunisia faces tough strategic choices as demand for energy begins to outstrip supply

Moëz Cherif's picture
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Shutterstock l rj lerich

Tunisia faces some tough choices for meeting its future energy needs as the domestic production of gas is expected to start declining by 2020.  Should it import more piped gas from Algeria or liquid natural gas (LNG) from the international market? Should it build an electricity interconnector to Sicily that would enable it to tap into southern Italy’s power surplus? Or should it start importing coal for electricity production?

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