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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This paper quantifies the direct and indirect economic effects of the Syrian war and the advance of the Islamic State on six Levant countries -- the Arab Republic of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the ... Show More +Syrian Arab Republic, and Turkey. Syria and Iraq bear the brunt of the direct economic costs, while the other Levant countries incur per capita but not in aggregate income losses. The fact that the conflict has undermined regional trade adds to varying degrees to the direct costs in all Levant economies and in the case of Syria and Iraq doubles the welfare losses. All these countries are foregoing opportunities to expand intra-Levant trade and the associated gains in economic efficiency and diversification. The average welfare effects are not indicative of within-country incidence, which varies among workers, landowners, and capitalists. Show Less -
KUWAIT CITY, December 15, 2014 – Representatives from 20 Ministries of Education and Higher Education, national centers for training and evaluation came together recently in Kuwait to identify wa... Show More +ys to improve assessment in education systems in the Arab world. The three-day course with participants from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region was sponsored by the World Bank in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (CEF).Presentations at the Using National and International Learning Assessments to Improve Education Policy and Practice event highlighted themes from the World Bank’s latest Education Strategy 2020: Learning for All. Experts focused on the key challenges facing education systems in the region, discussed the role of student assessments in this process, and identified solutions drawing on global evidence, experiences, and best practices. The session was part of a series of human development related courses held in partnership between the World Bank and the IMF Center.“Several countries in the Arab world have made strides in expanding access to education but they now need to shift their emphasis towards improving the quality and relevance of their education systems,” said Bassam Ramadan, World Bank Country Manager in Kuwait. “Ministries of education will need to ensure that what they provide is in line with today’s labor market and societal needs, and this requires that they have at their disposal better and more relevant data. Effective assessment systems can be part of this.”The World Bank’s Education Strategy highlights the importance of “investing early, investing smartly, and investing for all” as countries attempt to improve the quality of their education systems. Governments in the MENA region are making considerable financial investments in education but student achievement on international standardized tests is not up to par. Moreover, youth unemployment continues to rise and graduates often lack the requisite skills to compete in the job market. Building fair, accountable, and responsive systems will be central to the provision of high quality education services and meeting the region’s social and economic needs. “Questions that touch on human development are of central importance across the region, and when it comes to education in the Region, nothing is more important than enhancing the quality of that education,” said Philippe Karam, International Monetary Fund—CEF Acting Director.The World Bank is well positioned to work with MENA countries on transformative education sector reforms. The Bank can call upon data, experience and interventions stemming from its five decades of experience in the education sector in over 150 countries from around the world in order to help assist Governments to develop systems, policies, and institutions that are more accountable, responsive, and equitable to people’s needs.“The provision of good quality, relevant education requires that governments think more systemically and over the long-term,” said Harry Patrinos, World Bank Practice Manager for Education in the MENA region. “While building schools, hiring teachers, developing curriculum has been important in the Region, there is now the need for good quality, timely, and responsive assessment systems in all education reform movements, simply because systems cannot easily improve what they have not first evaluated.”The course had two strategic aims: to build capacity to use assessment and evaluation to support education reform at the country level and to build effective and high-quality networks of assessment and evaluation specialists working at the regional and global level. Show Less -
CAIRO, December 15, 2014 - The World Bank Group’s Senior Director of the Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practice, Ms. Anita George, begins today a three-day visit to Egypt to discuss with the... Show More + Government of Egypt the World Bank’s support to the country’s energy sector.Ms. George is due to hold meetings with senior government officials including the Minister of International Cooperation, the Minister of Electricity, the Minister of Petroleum, and the Minister of Finance. Ms. George will also meet representatives from the private sector.“Egypt and the World Bank Group have been partners for a long time. We are very keen to continue our support to Egypt’s energy sector and help the country meet its growing electricity demands and ensure access to reliable services that are critical for the country’s economic growth and job creation,” she said.Egypt has experienced rapidly growing electricity demand due to population growth, development of energy-intensive industries, and the use of electrical household appliances, which has increased significantly in the last few years. Investments have not kept up with the annual 6 percent growth in demand. The World Bank Group has been supporting the Government of Egypt in addressing this challenge. The World Bank has financed both the power plants at Ain Sokhna and Giza North that will add much needed capacity to the grid in the short to medium term. During this visit, Ms. George would continue dialogue on existing programs as well as discuss new areas for cooperation. “The Bank’s specific role in the energy sector will be decided in full consultation with the Government of Egypt. We stand ready to support public and private facilitation of clean energy financing of renewables and energy efficiency projects,” she added.Ms. George has been Senior Director of the newly established World Bank Group Global Practice on Energy and Extractive Industries since July 1, 2014. The Practice’s focus is to ensure that the Bank Group client countries receive world-class service in lending, advisory and knowledge services to meet challenges in the energy and extractive industries sectors. Show Less -
Tunisia: Reading RoomThe World Bank has produced extensive analytical work on issues critical to the success of the transition in Tunisia and future growth and shared prosperity. Following is a select... Show More +ion of the Bank’s most recent reports on Tunisia:The unfinished revolution : bringing opportunity, good jobs and greater wealth to all TunisiansRemoving economic obstacles in Tunisia could double employment creation to 100,000 new jobs per year, according to the World Bank’s first comprehensive analysis of the economy since the 2011 revolutionAll in the family : state capture in Tunisia World Bank Study details manipulation of regulations by former Tunisian regime officials to enrich a group of privileged insiders by capturing over 21 percent of all private sector profits in the country.Labor Policy to Promote Good Jobs in Tunisia Five strategic directives to promote long-term inclusive growth in Tunisia and create more and better jobs.Advancing Tunisia’s global integration Reforms options in the context of deeper integration with the EUAn analysis of the challenges and opportunities in the changing international landscape to advance Tunisia’s integration in a rapidly globalizing world trade environment.Breaking the barriers to youth inclusion Comprehensively addressing the legitimate aspirations of Tunisian youth, who continue to face high levels of social and economic exclusion, will be critical for Tunisia to sustain its positive forward momentum.Doing Business 2015 : going beyond efficiency – TunisiaThe latest data on the ease of starting a business in Tunisia, the progress made in streamlining regulations and how it compares with its country peers.Tunisia in a changing climate : assessment and actions for increased resilience and developmentA detailed analysis of the impact of climate change on Tunisia’s people, economic growth and food security – and strategies for reducing vulnerability and adapting to the changing climate. Show Less -