Middle East and North Africa

World Bank Group in the Middle East and North Africa

In response to the changing political climate in the region, the World Bank Group's framework for engagement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region builds on the demands of the Arab Spring and the reforms under way. The framework is based on four main pillars: creating jobs, strengthening governance, increasing social and economic inclusion, and accelerating sustainable growth. These are complemented by cross-cutting themes of gender, regional integration, and fostering a competitive private sector.

Given the challenges facing MENA, the Bank Group is scaling up its support in finance, knowledge, and convening power. This effort will involve a focus on partnership with Arab partners, traditional donors, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund. The Bank Group has committed to mainstreaming citizen engagement and collaboration with civil society. It will also harness knowledge and finances to allow more transformational engagements that foster greater resilience and more inclusive growth.

The World Bank Group continues to promote partnerships with bilateral and multilateral donors, regional development banks, Islamic financial institutions, and emerging-country donors. Less traditional partnerships are just as crucial: one of the sharp lessons of the recent political awakening has been the urgent need to reach out more consistently and consult across a wide spectrum of society, including civil society, academics, and the private sector.

World Bank in the Middle East and North Africa

World Bank lending increased from $1.5 billion in fiscal 2012 to $2.8 billion in fiscal 2014 despite challenges in the region. The Bank has also mobilized extensive resources to support countries neighboring Syria and has focused a great deal of attention on its analytical work related to the region. It has published a number of studies that address themes central to the region's political transitions, including studies on accelerating high-speed Internet access, the costs imposed by "restricted lands" on the Palestinian economy, the effects of the Syrian conflict on Lebanon, health systems in MENA, the regional reforms needed to stimulate growth and the jobs that come with it, gender equality in the region, and proposals for removing the obstacles that have produced one of the world's lowest rates of female participation in the labor force despite gains in female access to higher education.

IFC in the Middle East and North Africa

IFC helps address the economic issues facing MENA by supporting the region's private sector, working to create jobs, and promoting sustainable growth. High levels of unemployment and a weak investment climate remain major hurdles for development in MENA—where IFC commitments totaled nearly $2.2 billion in fiscal 2014, including $470 million mobilized from other investors.

IFC's focus in the region is on improving the investment climate, supporting public-private partnerships, and fostering private sector participation in education. In 2013, IFC's clients provided 2.3 million loans to micro, small, and medium enterprises in the region, totaling $14.1 billion. They also enabled 28.3 million phone connections and supplied water to 1.8 million customers.



MIGA in the Middle East and North Africa

Recent guarantees issued by MIGA for companies investing in MENA support a range of sectors, including manufacturing, telecommunications, oil and gas, services, and infrastructure.

Data Resources on the Middle East and North Africa


Research on the Middle East and North Africa


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