Orientations in Development

9 items available

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This series presents the rationale for addressing specific development problems in the Middle East and North Africa, and the World Bank’s strategic choices in supporting countries as they tackle these issues. These books clarify the role of the World Bank, based on a review of regional and national needs and responses to those needs, as well as the areas in which the World Bank is best positioned to support countries’ efforts. This series has been discontinued.

Items in this collection

Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    Strengthening China's and India's Trade and Investment Ties to the Middle East and North Africa
    (World Bank, 2009) Pigato, Miria
    The spectacular economic rise of China and India over the past two decades has accelerated their trade with Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Their demands for oil, gas, and other natural resources have been driving new relationships with MENA countries based not only on energy but also on trade, investment, and political ties. Indeed, Dubai has become the center of a new Silk Road, the intersection where people, capital, and ideas meet. And while the financial crisis that hit global markets in 2008 has placed downward pressure on growth, these new relationships are likely to deepen in the coming years. The report's main messages are as follows: a) demand for energy from China and India is expected to increase substantially in the future, thus greatly benefiting oil producing countries in the MENA region; b) the oil exporters in the Gulf have laid big bets on economic diversification and knowledge enterprises, bets they might win, but with lots of risk along the way. Oil price volatility may threaten the sustainability of the recent expansion; and c) the growth of China and India offers new market opportunities for the countries in MENA. Besides energy, potential opportunities, for fertilizers, petrochemicals, crude materials, agricultural products, and a number of manufactured goods where MENA has strong comparative advantages, remain unexploited.
  • Publication
    The Environment for Women's Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Chamlou, Nadereh
    This report is about how women entrepreneurs can contribute more to the quality and direction of economic and social development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Economic growth in the Middle East has been remarkable since 2004, mainly because of higher oil prices. Rapid job growth has followed, driven mainly by the private sector. Yet the region still faces two important challenges: the first is to create better jobs for an increasingly educated young workforce; and the second is to diversify its economies away from the traditional sectors of agriculture, natural resources, construction, and public works and into sectors that can provide more and better jobs for young people (sectors that are more export oriented, labor intensive, and knowledge driven). These goals can be achieved only by more innovative and diverse investors. In this, the private sector must play an even bigger role than in the past.
  • Publication
    Sustaining Gains in Poverty Reduction and Human Development in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2006) Iqbal, Farrukh
    This book reviews the experience of the Middle East and North Africa region with poverty and human development since the mid-1980s. It finds that poverty rates did not decline by much during this period while health and education indicators improved substantially. The stagnation of poverty rates is ascribed to the stagnation of the region's economies during this period while the improvement in human indicators is likely due to several factors including improvement in the delivery of public health and education services.
  • Publication
    Preventing HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa : A Window of Opportunity to Act
    (Washington, DC, 2005) World Bank
    This document presents the rationale for addressing HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (including Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen), and the Bank's strategic choices in supporting countries to prevent the spread of the disease. As one of the shocks that can drive households into abject poverty, HIV/AIDS has the potential to impede, and even reverse, development if not addressed early enough. Prevalence levels in the MENA region are low, compared to other areas, but recent evidence indicates that infection rates are increasing. Greater investments to improve HIV/AIDS advocacy, develop an information base, and implement prevention strategies among high-risk groups are needed, before prevalence levels reach epidemic proportions. Through investments in these areas, the region can avoid the increase in human suffering a widespread epidemic could bring, and preserve the benefits of national and regional development investments put in place by governments, and development partners. This regional strategy clarifies the role of the Bank in confronting the epidemic, based on a review of regional and national needs, and responses to those needs, as well as the areas in which the Bank is best positioned to support countries' efforts.
  • Publication
    Pensions in the Middle East and North Africa: Time for Change
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2005) Robalino, David; Whitehouse, Edward; Mataoanu, Anca N.; Musalem, Alberto R.; Sherwood, Elizabeth; Sluchynsky, Oleksiy
    This is the first comprehensive assessment of pension systems in the Middle East and North Africa. While other regions-Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, in particular-have been actively introducing reforms to their pension systems, Middle East and North African countries have lagged behind. This is explained, in part, by the common belief that, because demographics remain favorable-the countries are young and the labor force is expanding rapidly-financial problems are far in the future; as a result, pension reform does not have to be a priority in the broader policy agenda. However, the authors show that aging is not the only factor behind a financial crisis; the problem is the generosity of the current schemes. Moreover, badly designed benefit formulas and eligibility conditions introduce unnecessary economic distortions and make the systems vulnerable to adverse distributional transfers. The book does not present a general model that could solve the problems of all pension systems in MENA countries. Instead the authors focus on outlining a framework for guiding discussions on pension reform and making objective policy choices.
  • Publication
    HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa : The Costs of Inaction
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003) Jenkins, Carol; Robalino, David A.
    This book reviews the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) situation in the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Mediterranean (MENA/EM) region, and is intended to stimulate discussion and promote dialogue among the region's policy and decisionmakers. It seeks to provide a framework for multisectoral strategic action to reduce behaviors that risk spreading HIV, to care for and support those who become infected, and to diminish vulnerability among specific segments of society. Although most evidence suggests that overall HIV prevalence is low in the region, greater investments in improved surveillance, and care needed now-to maintain low prevalence levels and preserve the focus on national and regional development goals.
  • Publication
    Reducing Vulnerability and Increasing Opportunity : Social Protection in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC, 2002-01) World Bank
    Despite social, and economic diversity within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, social protection systems share common characteristics. This report develops a framework for a more integrated approach to social protection, and proposes general strategic lines of actions to guide the reform of social protection systems in the MENA region. It argues that, while during the 1970s and 1980s, economic growth rates outweighed growth rates in other regions, and social indicators improved dramatically, the model of development was not sustainable. It further, discusses key features, and major weaknesses of the social protection systems in the MENA countries, by defining an alternative framework for social protection. However, it also argues that traditional social protection schemes, cannot constitute the sole mechanism to protect vulnerable population groups, help the poor, or increase social welfare. Actions outside the traditional social protection system, suggest promoting prudent macroeconomic management, improving governance, rethinking regulatory institutions, and reforming education, and health systems. Concurrently, actions within the traditional social protection system, include improvements in the financial sustainability of social insurance systems, reforming training systems, and designing safety nets as developmental, and community-based, not just assistance, and centrally administered schemes.
  • Publication
    Cultural Heritage and Development : A Framework for Action in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC, 2001-06) World Bank
    The countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are blessed with an extraordinary cultural patrimony, secular and religious, of huge importance for each country and for humankind at large. The region is home to 48 sites already inscribed on the world heritage list maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and has an enormous nonmaterial heritage as well. The Middle East is also the cradle of the world's major monotheistic religions. This cultural patrimony is a cornerstone of many people's existence and nourishes their daily lives. It must continue to flourish. This report analyzes the cultural heritage sector in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and the World Bank's policy and operational experiences in this sector over the past six years, 1996-2001. It has three objectives: 1) to explore the characteristics, capacities, needs, and constraints of the region's cultural sector and their relevance to overall country development; 2) to take stock, describe, and analyze the World Bank's past and current support for preservation and management of the region's cultural heritage; and 3) to extract the lessons of experience and define the strategy framework for future Bank assistance for preserving and managing the MENA region's patrimony.
  • Publication
    Poverty Alleviation in Jordan : Lessons for the Future
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-06) Shaban, Radwan A.; Abu-Ghaida, Dina; Al-Naimat, Abdel-Salam
    This report draws lessons for improving the policy design of poverty alleviation schemes in Jordan. The conclusions herein are based on analyses of trends in consumption poverty in Jordan and assessment of the impact of government programs (including food subsidies and cash transfers) on poverty alleviation in the 1990s. Poverty declined between 1992 and 1997 because inequality declined. Government programs, especially those targeted to the poor like the National Aid Fund, contributed to poverty alleviation. However, poverty continues to be a major policy challenge for Jordan: the poor and near-poor remain vulnerable as a result of the shallowness of poverty in Jordan (many people are concentrated close to the poverty line) and the adverse effects of potential shocks. The report concludes the following: 1) sustainable poverty reduction requires resumption and sustainability of growth; 2) there is a need for a policy response to the vulnerability of the poor and near-poor to economic shocks; 3) the capacity of the National Aid Fund (NAF) needs to be significantly enhanced; and 4) continued priority needs to be placed on human development policies, particularly those affecting the poor.