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  • Publication
    MENA Economic Update, April 2024: Conflict and Debt in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-15) Gatti, Roberta; Bennett, Federico; Assem, Hoda; Lotfi, Rana; Mele, Gianluca; Suvanov, Ilias; Islam, Asif M.
    The global economy is in its third year of deceleration amidst declining inflation and oil prices. The MENA region grew at 1.9 percent in 2023 and is forecasted to grow at 2.7 percent in 2024. And for the first time since the pandemic, MENA oil exporters and importers will grow at similar rates. The tragedy of the conflict in the Middle East has increased uncertainty. Rising debt leaves many countries in the region exposed. This report unpacks the nature of debt in the region. Oil importers have been unable to either inflate or grow out of debt. Exchange rate fluctuations, and particularly stock flow adjustments (SFA) play a sizeable role. The report highlights the need to address debt transparency. Extrabudgetary items, especially for developing oil importers, need to be accounted for. Primary balances are key, but only to the extent that they capture the true state of government finances.
  • Publication
    Women, Business and the Law 2024
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-04) World Bank
    Women, Business and the Law 2024 is the 10th in a series of annual studies measuring the enabling conditions that affect women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies. To present a more complete picture of the global environment that enables women’s socioeconomic participation, this year Women, Business and the Law introduces two new indicators—Safety and Childcare—and presents findings on the implementation gap between laws (de jure) and how they function in practice (de facto). This study presents three indexes: (1) legal frameworks, (2) supportive frameworks (policies, institutions, services, data, budget, and access to justice), and (3) expert opinions on women’s rights in practice in the areas measured. The study’s 10 indicators—Safety, Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Childcare, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension—are structured around the different stages of a woman’s working life. Findings from this new research can inform policy discussions to ensure women’s full and equal participation in the economy. The indicators build evidence of the critical relationship between legal gender equality and women’s employment and entrepreneurship. Data in Women, Business and the Law 2024 are current as of October 1, 2023.
  • Publication
    Yemen Economic Monitor, Fall 2023: Peace on the Horizon?
    (Washington, DC, 2023-11-08) World Bank
    The Yemen Economic Monitor provides an update on key economic developments and policies over the past six months. It also presents findings from recent World Bank work on Yemen. The Monitor places these developments, policies, and findings in a longer-term and global context and assesses their implications for Yemen’s outlook. Its coverage ranges from the macro economy to financial markets to human welfare and development indicators. It is intended for a wide audience, including policy makers, development partners, business leaders, financial market participants, and the community of analysts and professionals engaged in Yemen.
  • Publication
    MENA Economic Update, October 2023 - Balancing Act: Jobs and Wages in the Middle East and North Africa When Crises Hit
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-10-05) Elmallakh, Nelly; Gatti, Roberta; Torres, Jesica; Lederman, Daniel; Lotfi, Rana; Suvanov, Ilias; Silva, Joana
    Covid-19. The Russian invasion of Ukraine. Commodity price volatility. The rise of global inflation and interest rates. Currency depreciations among indebted middle-income economies. And now, natural disasters. As a sequence of events, the consequences can be both tragic and long-lasting. After analyzing the macroeconomic prospects of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, this edition of the regional Economic Update assesses the human toll of macroeconomic shocks in terms of lost jobs and deteriorating livelihoods of the people of MENA. Growth is forecast to decelerate in 2023 after experiencing an oil-price induced growth spurt in 2022 among the high-income oil exporters of the region. Yet as the region continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 shock and navigates the heightened volatility in its terms of trade, the region’s labor force is contending with the ramifications for their livelihoods of the inflationary pressures associated with currency fluctuations in some countries. The authors estimate that the macroeconomic shocks of 2020-22 led to an additional 5.1 million individuals becoming unemployed in MENA. Will these shocks permanently scar the hard-working people of MENA? The report answers this question by highlighting the trade-offs facing labor markets when facing macroeconomic shocks. A critical trade-off pertains to the loss of jobs versus decreases in real incomes, neither of which is desirable. The report advocates for maintaining the flexibility of real wages and discusses policy options to support the most vulnerable.
  • Publication
    The Long Road to Inclusive Institutions in Libya: A Sourcebook of Challenges and Needs
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-05-18) Irhiam, Hend R.; Watanabe, Kanae; editors; Irhiam, Hend R.; Schaeffer, Michael G.; Watanabe, Kanae
    Facing a challenging transition process, Libya stands to profit from a reconstruction strategy and a vision that bring the country together. Investment decisions will have to be based on the analysis of alternative short-, medium-, and long-term interventions and the sequencing of related reforms, all while considering the realities on the ground. A stable Libya will carry substantive positive spill-over effects for neighboring countries and beyond. If sustainable peace and stability are to take hold, Libya’s partners must stay the course, sustain engagement, and support Libya’s efforts to rebuild equitably and inclusively. The Long Road to Inclusive Institutions in Libya: A Sourcebook of Challenges and Needs is a rich compilation of analytical work on Libya’s sector dynamics and reform choices. The content was developed in partnership with 60 contributors from nine institutions. The book’s 21 chapters address institutional transformation, reflect on the conflict’s impact on the economy, and outline the consequences of the conflict on people and services. The book demonstrates that even in challenging circumstances, one can contribute to the development of a near- and medium-term vision for a political, economic, and socially inclusive Libya while acknowledging the need to adapt as the circumstances evolve. Utilizing a number of analytical techniques (including phone surveys and nighttime data), the authors make a unique contribution to the discussion of Libya’s medium- to long-term challenges for readers in government, civil society, and academia.
  • Publication
    A New State of Mind: Greater Transparency and Accountability in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-10-05) Belhaj, Ferid; Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Sergenti, Ernest John; Assem, Hoda; Lotfi, Rana; Mousa, Mennatallah Emam; Assem, Hoda
    The MENA region is facing important vulnerabilities, which the current crises—first the pandemic, then the war in Ukraine—have exacerbated. Prices of food and energy are higher, hurting the most vulnerable, and rising interest rates from the global tightening of monetary policy are making debt service more burdensome. Part I explores some of the resulting vulnerabilities for MENA. MENA countries are facing diverging paths for future growth. Oil Exporters have seen windfall increases in state revenues from the rise in hydrocarbon prices, while oil importers face heightened stress and risk—from higher import bills, especially for food and energy, and the depreciation of local currencies in some countries. Part II of this report argues that poor governance, and, in particular, the lack of government transparency and accountability, is at the root of the region’s development failings—including low growth, exclusion of the most disadvantaged and women, and overuse of such precious natural resources as land and water.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-02-15) World Bank
    World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery examines the central role of finance in the economic recovery from COVID-19. Based on an in-depth look at the consequences of the crisis most likely to affect low- and middle-income economies, it advocates a set of policies and measures to mitigate the interconnected economic risks stemming from the pandemic—risks that may become more acute as stimulus measures are withdrawn at both the domestic and global levels. Those policies include the efficient and transparent management of nonperforming loans to mitigate threats to financial stability, insolvency reforms to allow for the orderly reduction of unsustainable debts, innovations in risk management and lending models to ensure continued access to credit for households and businesses, and improvements in sovereign debt management to preserve the ability of governments to support an equitable recovery.
  • Publication
    Grievance Redress Mechanism of the Takaful and Karama Program in the Arab Republic of Egypt
    (Washington, DC, 2022) World Bank
    Launched in January 2015, the Takaful and Karama (T&K) program is among the Arab Republic of Egypt government’s cornerstone social protection mitigation measures. It seeks to alleviate the adverse effects of the country’s bold economic reforms aimed at addressing longstanding macroeconomic issues. Implemented by the Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS) and co-financed by the government and the World Bank, the T&K program is among Egypt’s largest investments in human capital development. This case study summarizes the practices of the T&K program GRM to date, including lessons learned. The experiences and achievements of the T&K GRM in Karama’s beneficiary assessment phase are specifically highlighted. Section two explores the GRM as part of a broader social accountability approach; section three summarizes the institutional arrangements for grievance resolution; section four discusses key results and trends regarding grievance handling; and section five concludes with a snapshot of achievements, lessons learned, areas of strength and in need of improvement, and the path forward.
  • Publication
    Unlocking Sustainable Private Sector Growth in the Middle East and North Africa: Evidence from the Enterprise Survey
    (Luxembourg City: European Investment Bank; London: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022) World Bank; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; European Investment Bank
    Economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been weak since the global financial crisis of 2007-09 and the Arab Spring of the early 2010s. Achieving higher and sustainable growth is particularly important in view of other economic challenges facing the region: public debt in MENA countries has increased considerably over the last decade, accompanied by declining investment. This report seeks to understand what lies beneath that relatively slow growth, with a particular focus on the reasons for stagnating productivity and inadequate accumulation of human capital and physical capital in the region’s private sector. To this end, the report summarizes the main findings from nine background papers based on enterprise survey data. It also draws conclusions for policy, not only for promoting stronger firm performance, but also for addressing the challenge of climate change by pursuing sustainable growth.
  • Publication
    The World Bank Annual Report 2022: Helping Countries Adapt to a Changing World
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022) World Bank
    The Annual Report is prepared by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA)--collectively known as the World Bank--in accordance with the by-laws of the two institutions. The President of the IBRD and IDA and the Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors submit the Report, together with the accompanying administrative budgets and audited financial statements, to the Board of Governors.