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Unlocking the Employment Potential in the Middle East and North Africa: Toward a New Social Contract

Few challenges confronting the economies and societies of the MNA region are as pressing as those emanating from their labor markets.  Every country suffers from high unemployment, which mostly affects the young, the educated, and women.  High unemployment and rapid labor force growth imply the need to create close to 100 million new jobs by 2020, a doubling of the current level of employment.  Thus, in no small measure, MNA's economic future will be determined by the fate of its labor markets. 

employment report coverUnlocking the Employment Potential in the Middle East and North Africa provides a comprehensive account of contemporary labor markets in MNA and outlines a broad agenda of policy reforms to improve future outcomes.  As a result, the report devotes considerable attention to the broader political-economic aspects of state-society relations. 

The book integrates questions about how to build vibrant labor markets and restore the region's growth performance into a framework that also addresses issues of population dynamics, socioeconomic trends, employment regulation, the quality of institutions, opportunities in the world economy, and the impact of a redistributive social contract on prospects for reform. 

The findings reinforce the lessons of an expanding literature on the political economy of reform.  They confirm the importance of good governance for successful reform and the need for accountable and participatory reform strategies.  They also confirm the value of reform strategies that treat equity and efficiency as complementary rather than competing outcomes, and achieve labor market flexibility while preserving essential social guarantees.

The book concludes that in order to move the reform process forward, governments will need to revive national conversations about labor market reform, restructuring redistributive programs, and redefining the terms of the social contract.

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Overview in Arabic (193K)
Overview in
 English (69K)
Overview in Farsi (177K)

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The Launch of the MNA Regional Employment Report

This publication was officially launched at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings in Dubai on September 19, 2003.  The transcript and video of the launch is available below.

Transcript  - Video: Windows Media Player  and Real Player

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