The India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor represents an important shift in US and EU efforts to promote trade in the Middle East. Unlike past trade initiatives, the IMEC encompasses a broader coalition of regional and non-regional participants. It also makes a priority of infrastructure over trade policy as a means to expand inter- and intra-regional trade. While the IMEC has the potential to transform commerce on the Arabian Peninsula, international and domestic politics risk derailing its success. Western policy-makers have a strong incentive to invest their economic, political and diplomatic capital in helping to build an enduring and transformative IMEC.
How the Gulf’s historically small states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – grew economically offers insights and warnings for small states grappling with development challenges today. This column presents two lessons that small states can learn from the Gulf – as well as two lessons that the Gulf states can learn from small states.
Many women in the Middle East and North Africa are not in the paid labour force despite being highly educated. Good internet access and the global shift to telework as a result of the pandemic would seem to offer them opportunities for work and greater gender equality. But as this column warns, while online employment lowers barriers to getting women into paid work, it may fail to alter the unequal gender relations that underpin women’s reluctance to enter the paid labour force.
How exceptional are patterns of public sector employment in the Middle East and North Africa? This column reports three observations based on evidence from the World Bank’s Worldwide Bureaucracy Indicators for Djibouti, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.