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Washington, DC
Middle East and North Africa | North Africa | Middle East
2014-11-19T17:09:45Z | 2014-11-19T17:09:45Z | 2013-10

The process of political change and transition across much of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continued into 2013, with a great degree of heterogeneity across countries. The crisis in Syria has escalated and caused massive impact on the inflow of refugees to Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Creating the right environment for growth will be critical as only growth can drive job creation for the large numbers of unemployed, especially young people. Recent political changes will only be meaningful if they lead to concrete social and economic improvements, but to date few election promises have translated into effective policies and outcomes. Throughout the region, unemployment rates have remained high, and in some cases, increased as economies weakened and political instability harmed public and foreign investments, particularly those that support the expansion of labor-intensive tradable activities. In the longer term, MENA countries still face the structural problems that predate the 'Arab Spring.' The region's main challenge is to create sustainable growth that delivers the quantity and quality of jobs needed. An inclusive and competitive private sector has proven to be one of the most effective and long-term solutions for unemployment, and will be critical in tackling the scale of the problem in MENA.

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