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Law and Regulation

World Press Freedom Day: Freedom for African Journalists

Mohamed Keita's picture

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, many local journalists suffer attacks, imprisonment or even death for reporting on corruption, public spending or the mismanagement of natural resources. In Africa, at least 41 journalists are spending this World Press Freedom Day behind bars. 

While there is a clear recognition by international institutions that corruption and good governance are key to poverty alleviation, there seems to be much less understanding of the importance of an enabling environment, as a complement to training and capacity building, in order for the press to meaningfully contribute to greater accountability and transparency, such as natural resources exploitation.

For example, new oil discoveries in East Africa have the potential to lift millions out of poverty if the profits actually benefit the citizens in that region. The optimism is dashed by the proverbial “resource curse,” that’s plagued the likes of Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, where poor governance, wealth disparity and poverty persist. The fog of secrecy and opacity surrounding oil exploitation deals has also caused concern.

The voices of the people: street art in MENA, a visual guide

Simon Bell's picture

Simon Bell

After decades of suppressed voice, an inability to say what one thought, to protest, to offer a contrary point of view or dissent – the Arab world is at last unshackled to say exactly what it wants and wherever it wants. Nowhere is this more true than on the streets of the Arab capitals where an explosion of graffiti is voicing the views of the people in both words and pictures.

Can the Arab Awakening change an entrenched culture of nepotism?

Yasser El-Gammal's picture

                     Kim Eun Yeul

The question of nepotism is in the minds of many people in the Arab world. Some are hopeful that change can be brought by the Arab Spring, but others are doubtful. In a series of blogs, I plan to look into some of the ways nepotism, favoritism and other ills have become ingrained in Arab society.

Lions and tigers and bears, what on earth! In Jordan, no less?

Tracy Hart's picture

        Source: Wiki Creative Commons

I have been working on biodiversity in protected areas in Jordan for several years, and I am still learning about this country. On my most recent trip, I discovered that Jordan is home to lions and tigers and bears. Imagine! The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is located between three continents, giving Jordan a rich biodiversity.

Finding the trend in transition

Caroline Freund's picture
        Kim Eun Yeul

Twice a year, we put together an economic outlook for Middle East and North Africa as part of the economic analysis we do at the World Bank. Over the last two years, a series of political and financial shocks have made the regional economic trends and turning points that we are looking for in these reports difficult to identify.

Pensions systems in Iraq: “You don’t have to pay to get good service”

Ghassan Alkhoja's picture

        World Bank

While there have been positive development for beneficiaries of the pension system in Iraq, there are still challenges to improve services in Baghdad and across Iraq. It requires reforming the system to be responsive to the current and future needs of Iraq. Pensions systems are one of the most difficult areas in any country to reform and always involve a long term process fraught with political and technical challenges.

Tunisia's cash back: the start of more to come?

Guest Blogger's picture
        Credit: European Parliament, Flickr Creative Commons

This is good day for asset recovery. First and foremost it is a victory for the Tunisian people and the Tunisian government. It demonstrates that the consistent and patient efforts undertaken by the authorities in Tunis, including the Tunisian Financial Intelligence Unit, the Committee for the return of Stolen Assets, and the Ministry of Justice, are now paying off.

Freedom and the re-birth of a nation

Inger Andersen's picture
        Photo Source: World Bank

The very fact alone that this country and its people were in bondage for 42 years is unbelievable. The fact that the nation rose up against tyranny in spite of real danger, incredible losses and an uncertain outcome is a testimony to the courage and determination of a people to win their freedom.  And the fact that the Libyan people, and especially its young men and women, hold such incredible optimism about the future, speaks to the indomitable spirit of a nation.

"Democracy can never die"

Inger Andersen's picture
                        World Bank

Beautiful ruins speak of a people steeped in history with a deep sense of time and an inherent understanding of change. And it was in this city that I saw without any shadow of a doubt the strength of Libyan determination for their new-found democracy and freedom to succeed.

Blood pressures boiling in MENA

Aakanksha H Pande's picture

        World Bank | Arne Hoel

Blood pressures are rising in the Middle East and North Africa and they show little sign of cooling down. They began simmering over shishas in el kahawi (coffeehouses) in Tahrir Square, Eqypt; steaming over fried malsouka snacks in Habib Bourguiba Street, Tunisia; and bubbling over smoke filled debates at Pearl Roundabout, Bahrain. People from all classes and walks of life are equally affected.


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