An Urgent Agenda for the Post-Crisis Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East and North Africa region weathered the global financial and economic crisis relatively well. But its recovery is not as speedy as elsewhere and the post-crisis agenda contains a significant list of challenges including job creation, labor force participation for women, water management, food security, economic diversification, public sector management and regional integration.
A series of four short reports released by the Middle East and North Africa region of the World Bank this week for delegations to the institution’s Annual Meetings, addresses some of these issues:
Economic Integration in the Maghreb
History and proximity suggest that trade and investment links with Europe should provide the most promising path to shared prosperity for the Maghreb countries. Indeed, this is the path being traced out by several of them. Find out from this report what constrains faster movement along this route.
Mashreq countries have deeper trade links with the European Union to the West than they do with each other or with other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. Is this a lost opportunity? Could intra-regional trade facilitation and better transport links forge closer ties? Could better policies help the private sector in these countries make better business? Find out more about the logic of intra-regional integration.
Economic Integration in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries
Thanks to large endowments of oil and gas, the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council trade a lot with the rest of the world and are very open to labor and capital flows. They also have an ambitious agenda for integration among themselves, featuring a customs union and common market (at present) and aiming for a common currency (in the medium term). Find out how this agenda is progressing and what challenges lie in its path.
Bridging the Gap: Improving Capabilities and Expanding Opportunities for Women
Young people in the Middle East and North Africa have relatively better access to education than some of their peers in other developing countries but they struggle to find jobs. Employment is even harder to find for young women seeking a job. Only 25% of women in the Middle East and North Africa are active in the workforce underlining the challenge of bringing into productive use this very important resource. Learn more about the gender gap.