President Biden’s administration will face a number of major challenges in the Middle East over the next four years, from great power competition and climate change to cybersecurity and refugees and migration. This column, originally published by the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, outlines what it can do to help improve economic prospects across the region.
With the population of Africa and the Middle East set to double by 2050, efforts to ‘demonopolise’ the economies of the region – akin to late 19th century US federal legislation that outlawed monopolistic business practices – are vital to achieve economic transformation. Collectively leveraging the rise in pent-up domestic demand will facilitate the development of domestic productive systems, transforming raw products and supporting the creation of decent jobs.
How effective are lockdowns and social distancing measures in containing the spread of Covid-19 and how quickly should they be adopted? This column reports cross-country evidence on eight different coronavirus containment measures in flattening the epidemiological curve of the pandemic and reducing contagion and fatality rates.
Oil prices have taken a big hit as a result of the global pandemic, costing Middle Eastern economies billions of dollars every day and leading to downsizing and restructuring. As this column explains, forecasts of future prices focus on two divergent factors: how long will it take for demand for oil to recover; and how effective will be the agreement among the OPEC+ countries in keeping supply at bay. The lessons from history do not suggest a promising outlook for oil-exporting economies’ ability to raise prices.
There is considerable evidence that export-oriented strategies have a beneficial impact on growth and development. This column reports research suggesting that enhancing women’s participation in the export sector could be a new source of competitiveness for firms in the Middle East and North Africa.