At the onset of the pandemic, employment rates contracted sharply in North African countries. As the column explains, employment rates have generally recovered since then, but hours of work and incomes have not. Informal wage workers, farmers and the self-employed have faced a particularly hard struggle. In anticipation of future crises, the region requires a robust and shock-responsive social protection system.
Even before the pandemic, Sudan was experiencing a severe crisis caused by economic and political instability – so it is difficult to disentangle the specific impacts of Covid-19. This column draws on survey evidence of how the country’s labour market has fared – and makes recommendations for policies to respond to the economic damage to households and firms.
As Egypt prepares to host the 27th Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh in November, there may be an opportunity to restart the post-pandemic economic recovery. This column, first published by The NileView, is firmly optimistic about the country’s potential and prospects, with the author opening: ‘I am not an economist, but here is some food for thought on the way forward for Egypt.’
In the chaotic global post-Covid-19 economy, with the war in Ukraine, the challenge of adjusting to the stagflation engulfing the world is particularly hard for the oil-importing countries of the Middle East and North Africa. This column summarises the key messages of a report from the MENA Commission on Stabilization and Growth.
Policy responses to the severe pandemic-driven downturn in Morocco have sought to preserve jobs and businesses, and promote economic recovery. This column outlines the results of analysis assessing the effects of government actions during Covid-19 on economic variables, and raising questions about the design of future monetary and fiscal policies, and their interaction in an environment of high public debt.
Despite the popular movements for freedom and justice in several Arab countries a little over a decade ago, the region continues to be classified at the bottom of the world table of democracy. Nevertheless, this column argues, the uprisings have rung in the changes of an inevitable and deep-seated political and economic transformation in the Arab region: a change in the social contract is in the making, though its path and inception time remain uncertain.
Higher oil prices, by softening budget constraints for energy producers in the Middle East and North Africa, may reduce the incentive for major economic reforms. But as this Project Syndicate column explains, the region’s oil importers, facing renewed risks to social and political stability from rising costs, must contend with much greater challenges.