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Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, October 2018: A New Economy for Middle East and North Africa(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018-10) Arezki, Rabah ; Mottaghi, Lili ; Barone, Andrea ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Harb, Amani Abou ; Karasapan, Omer M. ; Matsunaga, Hideki ; Nguyen, Ha ; de Soyres, FrancoisGrowth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is projected to rebound to an average of 2% in 2018, up from an average 1.4% in 2017. The modest rebound in growth is driven mostly by the recent rise in oil prices, which has benefitted the region’s oil exporters while putting pressure on the budgets of oil importers. The rebound also reflects the impact of modest reforms and stabilization efforts undertaken in some countries in the region. The report forecasts that regional growth will continue to improve modestly, to an average of 2.8% by the end of 2020 while there is the ongoing risk that instability in the region could worsen and dampen growth. Despite recovery, the slow pace of growth will not generate enough jobs for the region’s large youth population. New drivers of growth are needed to reach the level of job creation required. The report offers a roadmap for unlocking the enormous potential of the region’s large and well-educated youth population by embracing the new digital economy. Broader and bolder reforms will be needed to achieve this goal, along with critical investments in digital infrastructure. It will require the reorientation of education systems toward science and technology, the creation of modern telecommunications and payments systems, and a private-sector driven economy governed by regulations that encourage rather than stifle innovation.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018-04-16) Arezki, Rabah ; Mottaghi, Lili ; Barone, Andrea ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Kiendrebeogo, Youssouf ; Lederman, Daniel ; Barone, AndreaAfter a sharp fall in 2017, economic growth in MENA is projected to rebound to 3.1 percent in 2018, thanks to the positive global outlook, oil prices stabilizing at relatively higher levels, stabilization policies and reforms, and recovery and reconstruction as conflicts recede. The outlook for MENA remains positive, and the growth rebound is expected to gain momentum over the next two years, exceeding 3 percent in 2020. While stabilization policies have helped economies adjust in recent years, .a second phase of reforms is needed should be transformative if the region is to reach its potential and create jobs for hundred million young people who will enter the labor market in coming decades. In this report, we explore the role that public-private partnerships can play. not only in providing an alternative source of financing but in helping change the role of the state from the main provider of employment to an enabler of private sector activity. Studies have shown that the gap between MENA economies and fast-growing ones is the performance of the services sector. The disruptive technology offers new opportunities for boosting private-sector-led growth through enhancement of high-tech jobs in the services sector. The report argues that combining the region's fast-growing pool of university graduates and a heavy penetration of social media and smartphone, could serve as the foundation for a digital sector that could create much-needed private sector jobs for the youth over the next decade.
Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, April 2017: The Economics of Post-Conflict Reconstruction in MENA(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017-04-17) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Mottaghi, LiliPlagued by war, violence and low oil prices, economic activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remained subdued between 2013 and 2015, but the situation is expected to improve and growth to surge above 3 percent over the forecast period. Though still below potential, the improvement in growth offers hope. We see signs of "green shoots" in some countries in the region, therefore we have upgraded our short-term prospects for MENA from "cautiously pessimistic" to "cautiously optimistic" over the forecast period. The prospects of peace in Syria, Yemen and Libya are one of the keys to resuming growth over the next decade. But realizing that potential depends crucially on how the post-conflict reconstruction is conducted. On the one hand, a well-managed process could help these war-tom countries rebuild their shattered economies and re-integrate their people so that the region as a whole, and possibly the rest of the world, benefits. On the other hand, a badly managed process can risk a recurrence of conflict, continued stagnation and suffering, and perpetual fragility. The economics of postconflict reconstruction, therefore, is critical to the future of MENA's economies.