After the Spring: Economic Transitions in the Arab World

Overview

The Arab Spring constitutes perhaps the most far-reaching political and economic transition since the end of communism in Europe. For too long, the economic aspirations of the people in the region, especially young people, have been ignored by leaders in Arab countries and abroad. Competing views as to how best to meet these aspirations are now being debated in the region. The outcome will shape Arab societies for generations to come.

The authors of this book argue that ...

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After the Spring: Economic Transitions in the Arab World

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Overview

The Arab Spring constitutes perhaps the most far-reaching political and economic transition since the end of communism in Europe. For too long, the economic aspirations of the people in the region, especially young people, have been ignored by leaders in Arab countries and abroad. Competing views as to how best to meet these aspirations are now being debated in the region. The outcome will shape Arab societies for generations to come.

The authors of this book argue that significant economic reforms must accompany the major political transitions that are underway. Although each country has a different economic structure and history and must make its own way forward, there are spill-overs from trade and investment linkages, the contagion of news cycles, interaction of people and sharing of expectations that are too great to ignore. Some common foundation of the new Arab economies is needed. Towards that end, this volume addresses four central challenges of economic reform in the Arab world. First, with two-thirds of the population under the age of 30, the disproportionate burdens of unemployment and poor education can no longer be heaped on youth. Second, while some government policies may have improved the living standards of Arab citizens in the past, they have also entrenched cronies, enriched a small elite, and become unaffordable. Third, if Arab economies are to compete in the 21st century they cannot depend solely on oil and gas money, remittances, and tourism, but will require active, independent private sectors. And finally, the relative isolation of Arab economies—both from each other and from the world—must end.

Rather than providing specific lists of recommendations, this book sets forth a set of guidelines and priorities for reformers who will begin creating new opportunities for youth, rebuilding the institutions of the state, diversifying the private sector, and cooperating with each other and integrating with the world economy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Policymakers and observers of the Arab world should be well advised to read this book. It contains a well-rounded analysis of the origins of the revolutions and uprisings in a few Arab countries, the opportunities they open and the challenges of their economic transformation as they move towards a democratic political system. Whether in terms of youth education and employment, the building of stronger state institutions, the modernization of the private sector and a greater integration into the global economy the book provides an excellent reference for those interested in policy making in the Arab region."—Mustapha Kamel Nabli, Governor, Central Bank of Tunisia

"The hopes for transition to democracy in the Arab world will have a greater chance of success if the Arab economies can contribute to hope for the future. The ideas in this book, assembled by the Brookings Institution, point to the key problems and possible solutions—a much needed contribution to one of the big problems of our times"—Javier Solana, Former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Former European Union Commissioner

"An accessible, timely volume." —CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199924929
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Magdi Amin, Lead Economist, International Finance Corporation

Ragui Assaad, Professor of Planning and Public Affairs, Minnesota University

Nazar al-Baharna, former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain

Kemal Dervis, Vice President, Brookings Institution

Raj M. Desai, Associate Professor of International Development, Georgetown University and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Navtej S. Dhillon, former director, Middle East Youth Initiative, Wolfensohn Center for Development, Brookings Institution

Ahmed Galal, Managing Director, Economic Research Forum

Hafez Ghanem, Assistant Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization

Carol Graham, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Daniel Kaufmann, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

John Page, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Professor of Economics, Virginia Tech University and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Katherine Sierra, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Tarik M. Yousef, CEO, Silatech and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

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Table of Contents

1 INTRODUCTION
Remaking the Arab Economies
What Kind of Reform?
New Transitions, New Directions: Outline of the Volume
What Next?: Stability, Confidence and Credibility

2 THE ORIGINS OF THE ARAB SPRING
The Unraveling Arab Social Contract
The Legacy of the Arab Polity
Partial Reform and International Experiences
Myths and Realities in Transition

3 OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Basic Demographic Trends
Employment: Young and Waiting
Education - Right Intentions, Wrong Outcomes
Transition Challenge: Evening out the Burden of Adjustment

4 BUILDING A MODERN STATE
Fiscal Reform
Public Sector Employment
Getting Good Government

5 TRANSFORMING THE PRIVATE SECTOR
A Structural Deficit in the Non-Oil Sector
Can the Arab World Compete?
Moving Forward with Private Sector Reform
Strategic Choices in Private Sector Reform

6 NEW REGIONAL AND GLOBAL STRATEGIES
Integrating with the Region and the World
Regional Infrastructure Cooperation
A Role for International Actors?

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