Person:
Islam, Asif M.

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Last updated: March 27, 2024
Biography
Asif Islam is a senior economist for the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank Group. His research focuses on private sector development. He has published in peer-reviewed journals on several dimensions of the private sector including entrepreneurship, technology, crime, informality, and gender. He has also published on fiscal policy, environment, and agriculture. He co-authored several reports including the World Development Report (2019) - The Changing Nature of Work, What's Holding Back the Private Sector in MENA? Lessons from the Enterprise Survey, and Uncharted Waters: The New Economics of Water Scarcity and Variability. He holds a PhD in Applied Economics from the University of Maryland-College Park, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Computer Science from Macalester College.
Citations 65 Scopus

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  • Publication
    Altered Destinies: The Long-Term Effects of Rising Prices and Food Insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2023-04-06) Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Islam, Asif M.; Bennett, Federico R.; Andree, Bo, Pieter Johannes; Assem, Hoda; Lotfi, Rana; Mousa, Mennatallah Emam; Bennett, Federico; Assem, Hoda
    Growth is forecasted to slow down for the Middle East and North Africa region. The war in Ukraine in 2022 exacerbated inflationary pressures as the world recovered from the COVID 19 pandemic induced recession. The response by central banks to raise rates to curb inflation is slowing economic activity, while rising food prices are making it difficult for families to put meals on the table. Inflation, when it stems from food prices, hits the poor harder than the rich, thus compounding food insecurity in MENA that had been rising over decades. The immediate effects of food insecurity can be a devastating loss of life, but even temporary increases in food prices can cause long-term irreversible damages, especially to children. The rise in food prices due to the war in Ukraine may have altered the destinies of hundreds of thousands of children in the region, setting them on paths to limited prosperity. Food insecurity imposes challenges to a region where the state of child nutrition and health were inadequate before the shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report discusses policy options and highlights the need for data to guide effective decision making.