- Roberta V. Gatti ,
- Daniel Lederman ,
- Asif Islam ,
- Christina A. Wood ,
- Rachel Yuting Fan ,
- Rana Lotfi ,
- Mennatallah Emam Mousa and
- Ha Nguyen
Over the past decade, growth forecasts for the countries of the Middle East and North Africa have often been overly optimistic. As this summary of the World Bank’s latest Economic Update for the region shows, greater availability and accessibility of timely and high-quality information can improve their accuracy. Better forecasts are particularly important in these times of uncertainty, as policy-makers seek a path to economic recovery from the pandemic and its aftermath.
Do preferential trade agreements and regional integration help to promote peace between neighbouring countries? This column looks at some of the research evidence on the interactions between economic interdependence and conflict management and prevention in the Middle East and North Africa.
The quality of the local environment can have a significant impact on residents’ decisions about whether to migrate to another part of the country. This column reports research showing that Iranian provinces with higher levels of air pollution experience increased net outmigration. Policy-makers seeking to reduce internal migration could focus more on environmental projects, addressing the factors that contribute to the degradation of air quality, particularly in the most polluted areas.
Economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa has been weak since the global financial crisis of 2007-09 and the Arab Spring of the early 2010s – in large part due to a stagnant private sector. This column summarises the main findings of a joint report by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank that draws on data from Enterprise Surveys of over 5,800 private firms in six MENA countries to explore what can be done to support sustainable growth in the private sector.