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Can Social Enterprise Contribute to Inclusive Growth in Middle East & North Africa?

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Before the Arab Spring, numerous Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries appeared to be performing well on several developmental fronts, showing impressive growth rates and improving business climate indicators. However, many of those who took to the streets believed that this growth only benefited a privileged minority. In that context, the Development Marketplace (DM) team is publishing a series of blog posts that aim to stir a debate and discussion to explore how the MENA region can adopt a new development model for competitive economies to create decent jobs while promoting sustainable development, social justice and equity.

The purpose of the blog series will be to help us all gain better understanding of the potential, opportunities and challenges facing inclusive business, inclusive finance and social entrepreneurship in the region. The blog posts will be released periodically leading to the launch of the Egypt DM Competition. The Call for Proposals is scheduled to be released and circulated the first week of November 2012.

Attached is a report that summarizes a panel discussion at a recent event entitled "How Can Social Entrepreneurs & Inclusive Businesses Contribute to Equitable Growth in MENA?" organized by the DM team. On the panel were a range of regional experts working through a variety of channels to address challenges in Egypt and the region to support inclusive growth. The discussion emphasized the contribution of social enterprise as an emerging vehicle for contributing to this goal.

The DM Team would like to acknowledge the efforts of Ms. Samaa Hazem Hosny and Ms. Saher Asad, World Bank Institute interns this Summer, for kindly helping in drafting the attached report.

For more information about the Egypt Development Marketplaceplace, please visit or


Submitted by Richard Catherall on
I really enjoyed this post and the report attached. I wrote an article for the Guardian recently about how a proportion of UK foreign aid could be invested as impact investment. This would enable governments to build direct relationships with social enterprises. This is beneficial for a number of reasons, not least because enterprise in many colours is a great setting to nurture transferrable leadership skills and talent. That talent can emerge as the quality of political and economic leadership capable of transcending wicked issues.

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