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Social Development

The other Arab revolution

Wael Zakout's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Man holding Tunisian Flag - jbor /

I just returned from Tunisia, my first ever visit to this beautiful country. It was a touching experience as it is the birth place of the modern Arab Revolution that started in late 2010. Sadly, many of what are called “Arab Spring” countries are now bogged down in terrible and destructive wars that have devastating effects on their people, economy and infrastructure. 

What is the social contract and why does the Arab world need a new one?

Shanta Devarajan's picture
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Mohamed Elsayyed l World Bank

To development economists (like myself), the uprisings that started in Tunisia and spread to several countries in the Arab world in 2010-11 came as somewhat of a surprise.  For the previous decade, almost all the indicators of economic well-being were strong and improving. 

Morocco’s social contract and civil liberties

Paul Prettitore's picture
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Moroccan Flag - Arne Hoel l World Bank

The Arab Spring and its aftermath have inspired much 
discussion of the social contracts that had defined the relationship between citizens and the state in the Arab world. In the past, the typical social contract of a state in the Middle East or North Africa broadly afforded that citizens would be provided jobs and public services, and presumably political stability, in return for limiting civil liberties that could be used to challenge governing regimes. The political transition in Morocco has provided space for addressing civil liberties in the debate on new social contracts. 

“The dreams that we have are rights for others”: Listening to disadvantaged youth in Morocco

Ibtissam Alaoui's picture
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Sidi Slimane Youth Workshop - I. Alaoui l World Bank

In my years of service with the World Bank, I have never come across such poignant testimony. I thought I had heard it all—everything I could ever know about exclusion, poverty, and vulnerability. But, in Sidi Slimane, a small city in the northwestern center of Morocco, I met marginalized youth who find new ways to express the hardships they are going through.

Tunisia: the leaders of tomorrow also have something to say today

Sadok Ayari's picture
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Youth Event

Like a poppy resisting the wind, Tunisia is resisting all efforts to drag the country down. The ability of this tiny country in the Middle East and North Africa region to face up to challenges has been  well known since ancient times. The secret to this resilience lies in both the nature of Tunisia’s men and women and their commitment to effecting the kind of change that continues to seize the attention of the world.

Tunisian civil society: from revolutionaries to peace keepers

Donia Jemail's picture
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Avenue Habib Bourguiba, Tunis. Nataliya Hora l Shutterstock

Who would have thought, on January 14th 2011, when the Tunisian people took to the streets shouting “Degage!”  or “Get out!” to former dictator Ben Ali’s regime, that they put  in motion a series of events that would lead to a group civil society organizations  winning  the  Nobel Peace Prize four years later. 

Conflict and development: the World Bank Group’s new strategy for the Middle East and North Africa region

Omer Karasapan's picture
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Damascus,Syria - Volodymyr Borodin l

In February 2012, I wrote a blog about the relevance to the Arab revolutions that had swept the region of  the UN’s then recently unveiled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future worth Choosing,” which called for the eventual adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now three and a half years later, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week, , world leaders endorsed the SDGs, an ambitious agenda that aims to end poverty, promote prosperity and protect the environment. 

Think regional, act local: a new approach for Maghreb countries

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly's picture
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 Pichugin Dmitry l

Every organization, no matter how large, needs to pause occasionally and take a good, hard look at itself. It is vital for measuring the gap between intention and achievement, and charting a new course. For the World Bank Group (WBG), this “hard look” took the form of a gathering for three days in Marrakech, Morocco where we listened to voices from the ground, debated and reached consensus on an action plan for a renewed path for the Maghreb Team.

#YouStink: The environmental youth movement in Lebanon

Christine Petré's picture
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 Shutterstock/ Nattapol Sritongcom

On July 17 the Naameh landfill in southern Beirut, which was overflowing with garbage from the Mount Lebanon region and the capital Beirut, closed due to pressure from the local population living around the site. However, without any clear alternative, the trash started to pile up on the streets of Beirut and beyond.