Posted on November 16, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Masood Ahmed
(Version in عربي)
Unemployment rates in the Middle East and North Africa have remained above 10 percent over the past decade, the highest in the world. For the young the rates are even more daunting, at a persistent 25 percent: one in four of the region’s young people are without work. Many people who cannot find jobs in the formal economy are relegated to working in the informal sector, for lower wages and without the protections and opportunities that workers enjoy in the formal economy.
The informal economy is large and pervasive—and, often, ignored; however, the experience of those who work in the informal sector came under the media spotlight when Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire that fateful day in December last year, sparking the Arab Spring protests.
Estimates indicate that the informal economy in the oil-importing countries of the Middle East and North Africa is substantially larger than in several Asian and Latin American countries. In Morocco, for example, the informal economy is estimated at 44 percent of officially measured GDP. In most other oil importers, it is estimated at close to one-third.
Filed under: Economic research, Employment, growth, Inequality, Middle East | Tagged: Arab Spring, Bouazizi, Egypt, employment, governance, inclusive growth, informal sector, jobs, Labor, Lebanon, Morocco, protest, regulation, Syria, tax, Tunisia, workers | 10 Comments »
Posted on October 29, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Masood Ahmed
(Version in عربي )
With the global economy on the mend, countries in the Middle East and North Africa are witnessing a pickup in trade and economic growth. Aided by rising oil prices and production levels and supportive fiscal policies, economic growth for the region as a whole is projected to exceed 4 percent in 2010, almost double what it was in 2009.
In contrast, and unlike many emerging markets elsewhere, the region’s oil-importing countries saw only a mild slowdown in economic growth last year to 4½ percent and are likely to see growth nudge up to around 5 percent this year. However, as our October 2010 Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East points out, that growth rate is well below the average of 6½ percent a year required to create the 18 million jobs needed over the next decade to absorb new labor-market entrants and eliminate chronically high unemployment. (more…)
Filed under: Economic outlook, International Monetary Fund, Middle East, عربي | Tagged: business environment, competitiveness, economic growth, education, employment, high productivity, infrastructure, investment, labor markets, Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia, regulation, structural reform, tariffs, unemployment | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 14, 2010 by iMFdirect
By Dominique Strauss-Kahn
(Version in عربي | Español | Français | Norwegian | Русский)
Oslo was the scene this week of a remarkable event that brought together global leaders from government, business, trade unions, and academia to discuss what many of them said is the biggest issue facing the world today: the jobs crisis.
They spoke of the 210 million people currently out of work worldwide—the highest level of official unemployment in history. They spoke of the human impact in terms of persistent loss of earnings, reduced life expectancy, and lower educational achievement for the children of the unemployed. And they spoke of a potentially “lost generation” of young people whose unemployment rates are much higher than for older groups.
Fortunately, they also spoke of what can be done to save this lost generation.
The Oslo Conference—hosted by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and co-sponsored by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—the first such joint endeavor in 66 years—attracted extraordinary participation. (more…)
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Employment, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: cooperation, employment, global economic crisis, global financial crisis, job-creating growth, jobs, jobs recovery, labor markets, long-term unemployment, Oslo conference, sustainable macroeconomic framework, sustainable recovery, unemployment, youth unemployment | 6 Comments »