With a population of 355 million and the vast majority of people living in middle-income countries, the MENA region came into the Arab Spring with multiple strengths, including a young and educated population, strong resource base, and economic resilience that helped it weather the 2008/9 global financial crisis.
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After capturing the interest of students and educators, the next day was focused on training teachers in concrete ways to apply these technologies in the classroom. Fourteen teachers from seven school... Show More +s spent time with local and international education experts to gain exposure to best practices for integrating new concepts into classwork, and creating curricula to promote creative thinking.To complement the hands-on training sessions, the World Bank team brought government, education, and innovation stakeholders together to talk about 21st Century Skill Development in Lebanon. This highlighted homegrown and international examples of using technology to improve learning, providing an opportunity to develop collaboration between all the different stakeholders in Lebanon.The final part of the Tech for Kids program brought the students and their teachers back together for a session in which teachers completed exercises with their students, working to complete more advanced exercises with a program called Scratch. Children also took part in Lego, littleBits, and Qalamsila workshops.Tech For Kids—and the great work already being done by other organizations in Beirut—is only the first step on a long road toward meaningfully and comprehensively integrating technology into schoolwork. Facilitators and participants brainstormed the next step, which includes the possibility of an education lab for more experimentation and innovation in using technologies, as well as training kids in summer camps. Key takeaways from the workshop included the importance of understanding the local context, of teacher-student relationships, and of allowing time to work with teachers and students separately, as well as together. Sessions that focused on one specific technology at a time were also important.Tech for Kids was financed by the Korean Partnership Facility and is linked to the Mobile Internet Ecosystem Project, a collaborative effort between the World Bank and the Ministry of Telecommunications of Lebanon that is aimed at encouraging innovation and supporting the ecosystem of start-ups in Lebanon. The project currently awaits the backing of, and formal ratification from, the Lebanese parliament.Participants included representatives from the Government of Lebanon, including the Ministry of Telecommunications and the Ministry of Economy and Trade; tech companies, including Intel, Microsoft, and CISCO; international organizations and donors, including the British Council, UNDP, UNICEF Innovation, and the US Embassy; the innovation community, including AltCity, ArabNet, Berytech, Public Interest Design; and local schools and local makers of programs for kids. The discussion included presentations by Dr Charbel Fares from Ministry of Telecommunications of Lebanon; José Antonio Galaso, the education specialist from Barcelona; Sara Sibai, a teacher at Wellspring Learning Community and a co-founder of Lebanese Initiative for Teachers; Maher Hassanieah, Program Manager at International Education Association; James Cranwell-Ward, Innovation Specialist at UNICEF Innovation; Sabine El-Kahi, founder of Kids Genius; Victor Mulas, ICT Innovation Specialist at the World Bank; and Rana El Chemaitelly, founder of The Little Engineer. Show Less -
MUSCAT, May 28, 2015— Government officials, international experts and development practitioners agreed that energy efficiency and renewable energy investments have the potential to build resilient eco... Show More +nomies of the GCC. The Forum, hosted by Oman and organized by the World Bank and the first of its kind in the Gulf Countries, examined the role of clean energy in reducing fiscal pressures and improving economic productivity and competitiveness. The two-day event, Tapping a Hidden Resource: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the GCC Countries, provided a platform for decision-makers to openly address current challenges to deploy clean energy at scale and exchange relevant international experience. Discussions focused on the scale of energy efficiency potential in key electricity consuming sectors, buildings and industry in particular; barriers to scaling up energy efficiency investments; and identifying areas of possible collaboration to design and implement the required policy measures. “Countries in the GCC have an enormous potential to be more energy efficient. This requires extensive coordination by the government and engagement of all stakeholders,” said Gerard Byam, World Bank Director of Strategy and Operations for the Middle East and North Africa region. “The Energy Forum is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about the challenges facing countries in the region and to provide the global experiences and lessons in support of the needs on the ground.”The GCC witnessed unprecedented economic and industrial development in the last decades that led to an increase in domestic energy consumption. Forecasts indicate an increase in domestic energy consumption with a growth rate that could reach 6% to 8% annually. “The World Bank can mobilize its global expertise to provide the GCC countries with insights on relevant successful policies needed to address the region’s energy challenges and convert them to opportunities. Scaling up Renewable Energy and promoting Energy Efficiency can unlock technology innovations, job creation and economic growth," said Anita George, Senior Director of Energy and Extractives at the World Bank. The fast-track economic growth and development experienced by the GCC economies since the mid-20th century in particular, has left its toll on the region’s energy profile. While the GCC exports significant quantities of hydrocarbons that fuel economic growth worldwide, GCC states would benefit from a more efficient use of its resources to meet domestic energy demand at home. “The fast-growing domestic energy demand in the Gulf Countries poses a major challenge on energy security and it is extremely important to rethink strategies to ensure that we are heading in the right direction to achieve fiscal sustainability and the efficient use of our renewable and non-renewable resources,” said H.E. Darwish Al Balushi, Minister of Finance.The World Bank has a large and growing global portfolio in energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, in addition to advisory services. In the GCC, the current World Bank technical cooperation program on energy efficiency includes advisory services in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and new programs are under discussion in Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. Show Less -
Tunisia was often recognized in the period preceding the 2011 revolution as one of the leading performers in the MENA region in terms of economic and human development outcomes. One of the first count... Show More +ries in the region to embark on early structural reforms that contributed to the successful economic performance since mid-1990s, Tunisia saw in parallel significant progress in social and human development indicators. In the two decades prior to 2011, the country benefitted from growth rates1 above the regional average, sustained progress in access to primary education (today almost universal) and health care, and a tremendous reduction in overall poverty incidence, which was halved in the decade between 2000 and 2010.2 As of today, Tunisia remains one of the most progressive countries in MENA in terms of women rights and female emancipation. Show Less -