There is currently no Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Iran. The last Interim Assistance Strategy which covered the period 2002-2003 was extended through 2005. No new World Bank loans to Iran have been approved since 2005 and all projects have closed.
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This report argues that Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries face a critical choice in their quest for higher private sector growth and more jobs: promote competition, equal opportunities for... Show More + all entrepreneurs and dismantle existing privileges to specific firms or risk perpetuating the current equilibrium of low job creation. The report shows that policies which lower competition in MENA also constrain private sector development and job creation.The report is organized in four chapters as follows (PDF):Chapter one analyzes the dynamics and determinants of job creation and tests whether the fundamentals of job creation in MENA are similar to those in fast growing developing and high income countries.Chapter two shows how different policies in MENA countries shaped private sector competition and thus the firm dynamics associated with job growth identified in chapter one.Chapter three documents past industrial policies in MENA and compare the experiences in MENA with the experiences of East Asian countries, highlighting how the differences are linked to policy objective, design, and implementation.Chapter four analyzes how privileges to politically connected firms result in policy distortions that undermine competition and constrain private sector growth and jobs in MENA.The report concludes by laying out the implications for policy of the various findings and lays out the specific areas for policy reform to the roadmap for more private sector growth and jobs in MENA.Briefs (PDF)Unleashing the employment potential of the Middle East and North AfricaStartups and Innovative Firms Wanted : Private Sector Growth and Job CreationDistorted Dynamics: The Impact of Policies on Firm Dynamics and Job CreationAvoiding Pitfalls of Industrial Policy: Building Open and Effective Institutions for Private Sector Development and JobsPrivileges instead of Jobs: Politically connected firms receive generous policy privileges undermining completion and job creation Show Less -
First issue: October 2014 l Corrosive SubsidiesThe report projects regional growth to average 4.2 percent in 2015, slightly more favorable than the 2013-2014 figures. Economic growth ... Show More +could reach 5.2 percent depending on domestic consumption, easing political tensions crowding-in investments in Egypt and Tunisia, and full resumption of oil production in Libya. Show Less -
This issue of the MENA quarterly brief assesses the macroeconomic performance of seven ofthe MENA countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Libya. All of these countries experienced ... Show More +rapid economic growth during 2000-10, and suffered a sharp economic slowdown in the aftermath of 2011. The brief focuses on the challenges facing these countries with a closer look at the actual growth performance in comparison with their forecasts and highlights the limitations of forecasting in the wake of the 2011 uprisings; and at the consequences of the growth slowdown, including unemployment, where perceptions may diverge from reality. The story is told in fourteen charts. Show Less -
The report Natural Disasters in MNA: A Regional Overview analyzes the risks the region faces and the measures and tools that the countries have adopted to enhance their preparedness. Developed by... Show More + the World Bank in collaboration with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments, the United Nations, and regional institutions, this report also looks at the disaster risk management (DRM) experience from around the world, and proposes a path to improve the resilience of MENA countries to natural hazards.This overview first analyzes in depth the sources of vulnerability to natural hazards in the region, such as water scarcity, increasing climate variability and a fast-growing population, which is progressively concentrating in urban areas in insecure and unplanned settlements. The urban population already accounts for 62 percent of the total population, with this figure is expected to double by 2040.Additionally, 3 percent of the region’s surface area is home to 92 percent of the total population. Citizens in urban areas must deal with floods on a regular basis with limited structural protection, inadequate citywide drainage systems, and weak nonstructural flood mitigation measures.The report later looks at the DRM progress in MENA countries and the progressive shift from reactive measures in response to a so-called natural disaster, toward ex-ante actions to prevent the disastrous effects of natural hazards. Governments have a better understanding of the risks their countries face; they are also raising awareness among the population and changing their policies, as seen in the creation of DRM-specific institutions and investments in programs around the region. These programs include early warning systems and national and city-level risk assessments.While a certain level of momentum has been building on DRM in MENA, it has not yet been matched with the integrated approaches required to manage disaster risks effectively. For this reason, the last two sections of the regional overview focus on the World Bank DRM past, current, and proposed future work in MENA while looking at best practices from all over the world. Experiences like Pakistan’s institutional coordination, water scarcity alleviation in China, or micro-insurance in Malawi, could be adapted to the regional context.The report includes in its annexes detailed risk management profiles of all the countries in the region. Show Less -
The demand for widespread access to broadband internet, a key driver of economic growth, job creation, and social inclusion, has never been greater in the Arab world. This report, “Broadband Networks ... Show More +in MENA: Accelerating High-Speed Internet Access", takes stock of the existing infrastructure in at least 18 countries, and examines the various regulatory and market bottlenecks that are hampering the growth of the Internet in the region. The report is also in tune with the regional transition toward more inclusive development and addresses the need for stimulating growth and creating desperately needed jobs.Download the report "Broadband Networks in MENA: Accelerating High-Speed Internet Access" in PDF:English (Full), Arabic (Executive Summary), French (Executive Summary).CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTIONThe report’s opening chapter presents the importance of broadband for economic and social development for the countries of the Middle East and Africa (MENA). It compares the performance of MENA internationally in terms of broadband, noting the correlation between good economic performance on the one hand, and low prices and high penetration of broadband on the other.CHAPTER 2: NATIONAL BROADBAND POLICIES AND MARKET DEVELOPMENTChapter 2 examines in more detail the current state of fixed and mobile broadband networks and constraining factors for broadband development in MENA countries. The importance of national broadband policies is described and their core objectives in improving access, stimulating adoption, and enabling competition, the relative importance of which depends on the stage of market development.CHAPTER 3: INFRASTRUCTURE DEPLOYMENT AND DEVELOPING COMPETITIONThe key challenges of broadband infrastructure deployment and development of competition in are identified in Chapter 3, in terms international and regional connectivity, national backbone, and access networks (fixed and mobile). All three elements have to be in place and optimally used to meet increasing demand in the most cost-effective way but challenges in terms of investment differ significantly.CHAPTER 4: RECOMMENDATIONS TO ACCELERATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTUREChapter 4 provides recommendations to address the development of broadband infrastructure. The key factors limiting its development in most countries in the region are lack of effective competition and lack of appropriate regulation. The report recommends promoting facilities-based competition, addressing underserved areas of the country, applying new models of infrastructure supply, and implementing measures to decrease deployment costs.CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONThe final chapter briefly summarizes the opportunity and the challenges facing countries in the MENA region with regard to broadband development. Currently MENA lags behind other regions in terms of prices, penetration and content but the potential benefits of leapfrogging existing infrastructure are high.ANNEXESThe annexes include detailed case studies of the status of broadband policy and broadband development in selected MENA countries (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Jordan). Show Less -
In the January 2014 issue, entitled Growth slowdown heightens the need for reforms, we see that ongoing regional tensions, together with a challenging (albeit slightly improving) external en... Show More +vironment, have hit the economies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region hard. Economic growth is slowing, fiscal buffers are depleting, unemployment is rising, and inflation is mounting in seven of the region’s most vulnerable economies-- Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Libya. Short-term policy actions such as increasing public sector wages and subsidies—aimed at reducing social tensions--exacerbate the situation, which is driven by long-standing structural weaknesses, including labor market rigidities, complicated and opaque regulations, infrastructure deficiencies, regressive and inefficient subsidies, and inadequate social safety nets. While these countries face an unstable political and macroeconomic environment, the growth slowdown after the Arab Spring creates a unique opportunity to address these structural problems to both create fiscal space and restructure the economy towards job creation and inclusive growth. Show Less -