Global Agenda Council on the Arab World 2012-2013
Two years after the transitions in Tunisia and Egypt started, decision-makers across the Middle East and North Africa face the challenge of translating the unique momentum created into concrete positive outcomes for all their citizens. Adding a layer of complexity, these efforts are taking place against a backdrop of continuous geopolitical uncertainty in the Levant and a deep economic slowdown in Europe.
Leaders from industry, government and civil society across the Arab world need to act together if they are to make an impact in areas of crucial importance for the region, including job creation, private-sector development and a more inclusive model of growth. Tangible results are needed to meet the aspirations of youth across the region and demonstrate to them that new opportunities exist. Clear signals are also needed to reassure investors abroad and encourage greater FDI flows into the region.
This new reality and the urgency of the situation offer a real opportunity for innovative thinking to support decision-makers to achieve genuine impacts.
- The average rate of unemployment among youth across the region is currently more than 25% – the highest in the world – and forecasters don’t foresee a decrease over the coming years.
- Transition economies face severe challenges: Egypt’s budget deficit for 2011-12 was 11% of GDP, while Tunisia’s economy went into a recession in 2011 with a decline in growth of 1.8%.
- Taken together, Arab League countries boast 350 million consumers and constitute the world's 9th largest economy, with a GDP of US$ 2 trillion.
"The Arab countries in transition are faced with substantial external financing needs that could rise, especially if international prices for food and fuel remain at current levels or increase, adding to the import bill.”
Masood Ahmed, Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF), USA. Gulf Times, 21 September 2012
“Informed policy debate and action-oriented research are critical to boosting youth employment in the Arab world.”
Tarik Yousef, Chief Executive Officer, Silatech, Qatar. AMEinfo.com, 15 July 2012
“The Arab world has been growing over the past 20 years; the problem is how to make growth more inclusive.”
Mohamad Al Ississ, Professor, Economics, School of Business, American University in Cairo, Egypt. World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa interview, 23 October 2011
The Compendium on Arab Economic Governance 2011
Addressing the 100 Million Youth Challenge: Perspectives on Youth Employment in the Arab World in 2012
Unlocking North Africa’s Potential through Regional Integration
Regional Economic Outlook Update
World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa
24-26 May 2013
Dead Sea, Jordan
The Global Agenda Council on the Arab World engages with leaders from government, academia, international organizations and the private sector from North Africa, the Levant, Gulf Cooperation Council countries and elsewhere around the world to develop policy recommendations on economic governance.
During 2011-12, the Council developed a new model for understanding the region’s economic governance issues, and contributed to two compendiums of essays on regional economic topics. These publications, The Compendium on Economic Governance in the Arab World 2011 and The Compendium on Arab Youth Employment 2012 – Addressing the 100 Million Youth Challenge, were launched at the World Economic Forum Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World 2011 and the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia 2012, respectively.
During the forthcoming term, the Council will continue to support leaders in the region through innovative thinking intended to address the most pressing issues. It will examine the complexity involved in fostering sustained and inclusive economic activity in times of turbulence, since it is likely that the region’s economies will experience further instability over the next one to two years. It will also seek to outline lessons learned from similar transitions that have taken place in other regions of the world. The Council will examine the role of the private sector and how business can bridge the gap between the role it needs to play to drive economic development and the way it is perceived within Arab societies. Finally, the Council will examine the issue of job creation, vital to all the countries in the region, and look at proven and successful job creation schemes and the conditions necessary for youth-driven entrepreneurial growth.
Research Analyst: Marc Caverzasio, Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Manager: Hala Hanna, Senior Community Manager, Global Leadership Fellow, Middle East and North Africa, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Miroslav Dusek, Director, Head of Middle East and North Africa, firstname.lastname@example.org