The political events reshaping the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region underlines that the key to political stability and renewed growth is going to depend on enabling more inclusive political and economic paths. Exports and especially non-oil exports will play a key role in developing the robust and inclusive growth model that the region needs to secure its future. Exports of non-oil goods and services play a much smaller role in MENA than in other regions. In 2008, MENA's share of exports of non-oil goods and services in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was just 16 percent compared to 44 percent in East Asia and 22 percent in South Asia, and lower even compared to the shares of Latin America and The Caribbean (LAC) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). These statistics are not surprising since about two thirds of the countries in MENA are net oil exporters, but the imperative to address employment challenges in MENA calls for a special focus on the state of nonoil exports.
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