The concentration of the Arab region’s wealth in the hands of just a small percentage of its residents should be a wake-up call for a renewed regional and national policy dialogue on inclusive growth strategies – and for immediate policy action. This column argues for revisiting governance frameworks and macroeconomic policies to enact pro-poor fiscal policies that are supported by modest annual contributions from the wealthiest decile. This would reduce wealth concentration and support dwindling fiscal space for social protection and development expenditure in many Arab countries.
The democratisation push in Africa’s poorest countries has failed to produce legitimate governments capable of delivering security and development, and the increasing frequency of military coups should trigger a rethink. As this Project Syndicate column explains, where institutions are weak, elections alone will not make leaders accountable.
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.
Although headline measures of digitalisation and e-commerce are growing steadily in the Middle East and North Africa, the outlook is anything but rosy. As this Project Syndicate column explains, not only is internet access largely limited to those with higher incomes, but the bulk of the goods and services being traded comes from foreign suppliers.
Productivity in the manufacturing sector is key for economic growth and employment opportunities in most developing economies. This column looks at total factor productivity (TFP) – the portion of output growth that comes from technological progress – in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa over the four decades since 1980. Despite an overall increase in manufacturing TFP in the region during this period, it is still lagging behind other parts of the world.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has accentuated the already pronounced upward trend in energy and food prices. This column assesses the vulnerability of countries in Africa to such changes in commodity markets.
Firms’ involvement in global value chains is increasing rapidly and it is vital for policy-makers to understand the direct effects on domestic employment, as well as spillover effects on the economy. This column sheds light on participation trends in Turkey and its repercussions for jobs.