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The Arab Spring Five Years Later

Toward Great Inclusiveness

The Arab Spring Five Years Later by Hafez Ghanem
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The dilemma felt by Arab youth was captured in Tunisia by the selfimmolation in 2010 of Mohamed Bouazizi, who was frustrated by restrictions on his small street-vending business. His death became the catalyst for revolts throughout the Middle East. The frustration had been building for some time: large segments of society were denied economic progress, while the middle class was squeezed, and governments had cut back on services and public employment.

Since the series of uprisings began, the debate in Arab countries has focused almost exclusively on politics and questions of national identity. However, economic issues are driving the agenda, and real economic grievances must be addressed in order for the many transitions to succeed.

Hafez Ghanem gives a thorough assessment of the Arab Spring, beginning with political developments since the revolutions and changes in the legal and institutional frameworks that affect economies. Arab economies grew at healthy rates before the revolts, but the benefits of economic growth were unfairly distributed. The politically connected reaped great benefits, while educated youth could not find decent jobs, and the poor and middle class struggled to make ends meet.

Ghanem advises that Arab countries need to adopt new economic policies and programs that enhance inclusiveness, expand the middle class, and foster growth in undeveloped regions. Key elements include strengthening economic institutions, developing small businesses, reforming the education system to better prepare Arab youth for the modern labor market, promoting gender equality with the objective of raising female labor market participation rates, and setting up programs for rural and regional development to reduce inequality and eliminate extreme poverty.

Brookings Institution Press; December 2015
240 pages; ISBN 9780815727194
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Title: The Arab Spring Five Years Later
Author: Hafez Ghanem
  • News
AFP Declares Arab Spring a Failure - Breitbart News
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 07:03:52 -0800
Breitbart NewsAFP Declares Arab Spring a FailureBreitbart NewsHafez Ghanem, vice president of the World Bank for the Middle ...
Little Change for Middle East Five Years after Arab Spring - Newsweek Pakistan
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 00:44:06 -0800
Newsweek PakistanLittle Change for Middle East Five Years after Arab SpringNewsweek PakistanThe democracy fever spread,” Hafez ...
Understanding Tahrir Square - Brookings Institution
Wed, 09 Apr 2014 21:02:03 -0700
Brookings InstitutionUnderstanding Tahrir SquareBrookings InstitutionThe book puts the Arab Spring in comparative perspective. ...