Since the mid-1980s, there has been little progress in poverty reduction in the MENA region although human development indicators have continued to improve. Accelerating poverty reduction and sustaining human development improvement are important challenges for the region in the future says a World Bank report "Sustaining Gains in Poverty Reduction and Human Development in MENA "released today.
The report provides an overview of trends in poverty and human development indicators during the last two decades. It shows that the substantial progress in reducing poverty in earlier decades came to a halt in the latter half of the 1980s. Average poverty rates for the region, measured at the $2 per capita per day international poverty line, fell to around 25 percent by 1987, the lowest in the world at that time. But they stagnated thereafter, fluctuating between 20 and 25 percent. "This is the social cost of slow growth," says Mustapha Nabli, Chief Economist at the World Bank for the MENA region noting that "an additional 11 million people were added to the ranks of the poor between 1987 and 2001 because the region's population continued to grow but its economies didn't."
Sustaining Gains in Poverty Reduction and Human Development in the Middle East and North Africa