The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is suffering from spatially divergent development. The uprisings of the Arab Spring in part reflected grievances of citizens who were or perceived to have been left behind, particularly by accidents of where they were born. This memo introduces a report that one may find useful and interesting. Focusing on actions that can put countries in the MENA on a path to territorial convergence, it concludes that governments can take the lead by tackling the economic and institutional causes of spatial exclusion. Rising spatial disparities are threatening economic growth and social inclusion in the country and across the region. This report shows that opportunities for the citizens are shaped more by accidents of where they were born - much more than in any other part of the world. One can reduce territorial disparities more immediately and effectively by taking five steps: strengthen coordination and complementarities across sectoral interventions; redistribute roles and responsibilities across tiers of government; enable greater mobility of the people between lagging and leading areas; build dense and connected cities; and enhance market access for lagging areas, nationally, and regionally.
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