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Global Economy

Growth strengthens in MENA, but vulnerabilities persist

Elena Ianchovichina's picture

Our latest regional outlook shows a two-track path for growth in MENA. In 2012 oil exporters are likely to fare much better than oil importers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Growth of MENA’s oil exporting countries will be strong and rise from the average of 3.4 percent in 2011 to 5.4 percent in 2012. The new Regional Economic Update presents the outlook for MENA in the context of rapidly-evolving global and domestic environments, recognizing the linkages that matter for shaping country-specific outlooks and the multiple risks that could alter them.

Is “the Egyptian botagas story” running out of gas?

Vladislav Vucetic's picture

Kim Eun YeulEveryone in Egypt has a botagas story. If you walk the busy and pleasantly noisy Cairo streets, as I often do in the early evening during my visits, you pass scores of fast-food shops, cafés, and makeshift tea stands, their bluish botagas flames burning steadily in the fading light. I am sure their owners have many botagas stories to tell. Newspapers often run these stories as well, usually with a photo of a queue of people with mixed expressions – a few smiling faces leaving with heavy bottles and many more anxiously waiting to try their luck. My colleague Khaled tells his own story in the accompanying “botagas” blog and it also ends on an unhappy note: botagas is not easy to get nowadays. So, what is behind these unhappy botagas stories?

Enabling employment miracles

Caroline Freund's picture
World Bank | Arne Hoel | 2011How can policymakers engineer enduring reductions in unemployment? Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) Regional Economic Update confronts this question head on. It looks back historically to examine how countries have generated episodes of swift, significant, and sustained unemployment reductions. These we call employment miracles. And to make miracles happen the analysis unambiguously points towards prudent macroeconomic management, sound regulation and good governance as critical enablers of job creation.

Tourism: For those looking for shovel ready projects

Omer Karasapan's picture
World Bank | Dale Lautenbach | 2012Tourism is one of the world's largest and fastest growing sectors, making up 5% of the world's GDP and 30% of the global export of services (over $1 trillion). In 2010 alone, there were some 1 billion tourists worldwide, 60 million of whom traveled to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. International Tourism receipts amounted to $900 billion - MENA's share making up roughly 6% of the total, around $50 billion. Overall, MENA tends to underperform slightly, not only in terms of the number of visitors and monetary inflows, but also in its potential to generate employment.   

Avoiding group think on Arab world

Guest Blogger's picture
World Bank | 2012“I was hoping to hear about Arab countries...why are we hearing a case study of Pakistan?” exclaimed an attendee of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Chief Economist’s Forum at the World Bank.  Although the purpose was to draw upon lessons learned from a variety of countries, I still felt that the attendee’s criticism hinted at an exclusionary paradigm - even if the object of the criticism was from an Economics Nobel Laureate, Roger Myerson. True: over 20 Arab countries make up the MENA region.  Yet the topics and recent remarks at the Wharton Business School’s MENA conference challenge the exclusionary paradigm that fuels such criticism. 

Innovate and become a Super Nimer!

Simon Bell's picture
World Bank | Arne Hoel Increased competition is critical to bringing in new ideas, new ways of thinking, new products, new markets, and new approaches, so as to generate new jobs for women, the youth of the region, and for those who live at the bottom of the pyramid.  In other words, greater competition will breed greater innovation, and more of the middle income jobs that the region requires.  Innovation in its simplest form means simply Doing Different Things and Doing Things Differently” (DDT-DTD).

Bruegel seminar on EU-MENA Integration Challenges

Inger Andersen's picture
World Bank | Dana SmillieToday at Bruegel—one of the leading European think tanks—we exchanged views on the way forward for the Middle East and North Africa countries one year after the Arab Spring. Jean Pisani-Ferry (Director, Bruegel) chaired a discussion focused on EU-MENA integration to jump start growth and job creation in the MENA region. Various experts reflected on the current European approach to foster greater regional integration with and within the MENA countries.

Ask the experts! Upcoming MENA Forum on Economic and Political Transitions

Caroline Freund's picture
The year 2011 will be remembered as the year of the Arab Spring. Revolutions brought new governments to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, while a number of other governments in the region introduced important reforms.  The peoples’ demands are clear: democracy, dignity, better governance, and a more inclusive growth model.  Now is the time to deliver. Yet, the political, economic and social developments are shifting and it is not clear how the population’s heightened expectations can be met. 

Can the Arab Spring spur regional integration?

Omer Karasapan's picture
The list of challenging issues that led to the Arab Spring are now well known and will need to be overcome to meet the aspirations of the people of the region. These range from governance, education and bloated public sectors to a correspondingly weak private sector, all of which crystallize around the issue of employment, particularly for youth and women. The OECD's "Arab World Competitiveness Report, 2011-2012" estimates that 25 million jobs will be needed over the next decade just to keep unemployment at current levels (over 10%).

Tunisia one year after the Revolution: which priorities should the World Bank support?

Eileen Murray's picture

Tunisia demonstrated one year ago that citizens' voice matters. Accountability is a must.  Government legitimacy is key. Starting from Tunisia, a wave of revolutions now commonly referred to as the "Arab Spring" spread to the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Citizens demanded voice, accountability and opportunity for all, not only for a selected few and mostly privileged. The World Bank has taken significant steps to support this rapid and positive change. 


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