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.
Everyone 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?
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.