The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to exacerbate the move away from globalisation that began early this century and promote regionalisation around big economic blocs. This column, originally published at the LSE Business Review, explains how African countries have an opportunity to deepen regional integration and create their own value chains, transforming the raw materials that they have in abundance. Agribusiness could be as pivotal for Africa as coal and steel for Europe because of the benefits of food security and jobs for the continent.
The Juba Agreement for Power Sharing in Sudan (JAPS) signed in late 2020 raised hopes of ending almost two decades of internal armed conflict in Sudan, but the military coup of October 2021 has thrown doubt on whether the peace process can succeed. This column summarises research concluding that even without the coup, the JAPS alone would have been insufficient to bring peace and democracy to the country.
Formal private sector firms in Arab countries suffer from four overlapping labour market challenges: job creation, inequality, productivity and technology. As this column explains, proposed policy responses need to rise to the enormity of these challenges. They also need to take account of short-term interventions to address Covid-19, as well as medium and long-term solutions to structural problems.
- Roberta V. Gatti ,
- Daniel Lederman ,
- Rachel Yuting Fan ,
- Arian Hatefi ,
- Ha Nguyen ,
- Anja Sautmann ,
- Joseph Martin Sax and
- Christina A. Wood
The pandemic caught most countries in the Middle East and North Africa with underfinanced, imbalanced and ill-prepared healthcare systems. This column outlines what went wrong, the economic and health impacts, and the implications for policy. The authors conclude that together with a strong focus on building core public health functions, leveraging the power of data openness can help to promote the region’s recovery. It can also support resilient systems capable of responding to future health calamities arising from epidemics, wars and natural disasters driven by climate change.
Climate change will shrink the economies of rich, poor, hot and cold countries alike, and will make it more difficult and more expensive to raise the finance needed to decarbonise in the future. This column, which originally appeared on The Conversation website, argues that the cost of early action is far cheaper than the cost of delayed action. Mobilising climate finance is a win-win for both the developed and developing economies.
In the Middle East and North Africa, energy consumption is heavily subsidised, which has harmful environmental consequences. But reform of energy subsidies is politically difficult, not least because of limited government legitimacy and citizen distrust of authorities. This column argues for a new holistic approach to reform to account for the frail social contract that has prevailed for decades between elites and the broad population of the region.