Given the ongoing fragility and conflict in the region, the World Bank Group has prepared a new regional strategy for the Middle East and North Africa. Instead of taking conflict and violence as given and working around it, this new strategy, entitled - "Economic and Social Inclusion for Peace and Stability in the Middle East and North Africa: A New Strategy for the World Bank Group" - puts the goal of promoting peace and social stability in the MENA region at its center. The strategy is built around four pillars (“the 4 R’s”) that respond to both the underlying causes of conflict and violence as well as the urgent consequences through development interventions that foster inclusion and shared prosperity. The four pillars of the strategy are as follows:
- Renewing the social contract – to generate a new development model that is built on greater citizen trust; more effective protection of the poor and vulnerable; inclusive and accountable service delivery; and a stronger private sector that can create jobs and opportunities for MENA’s youth;
- Regional cooperation – particularly around regional public goods and sectors such as education, water, and energy so as to foster greater trust and collaboration across MENA countries;
- Resilience - to refugee and migration shocks by promoting the welfare of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and host communities by focusing on building trust and building their assets; and
- Reconstruction and recovery – through a dynamic approach that brings in external partners, leverages large scale financing, and move beyond humanitarian response to longer-term development wherever and whenever conflict subsides.
In implementing this strategy, the WBG will rely heavily on both deepening and expanding partnerships with national, regional, and global actors, especially the Islamic Development Bank. With respect to financing, the WBG will continue to expand its investment in the region, but in addition to our own funds, the core focus will be on leveraging and mobilizing global resources to meet the extraordinary financing needs of the region through innovative mechanisms. Finally, our knowledge work (including our growing RAS program) will be of prime importance in informing and mobilizing the support for the strategy and will lead (rather than follow) our lending.