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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

WB, WEF say Arab region needs improvement in private sector growth

WB, WEF say Arab region is doing better at infrastructure, but needs improvement in private sector growth: While the Arab World demonstrated improvements over the last decade in areas like infrastructure development and technology, “many countries are struggling to diversify their economies and develop a vibrant, competitive private sector that can foster innovation and job creation,” according to the World Bank and World Economic Forum’s Arab World Competitiveness Report 2018 (pdf). The region will need to generate 58 mn jobs by the year 2040 to maintain unemployment rates and even more to lower them, the report noted.

Nonetheless, the report noted that the region showed some improvement in support for innovation and providing crucial seed funding to start-ups. The GCC is leading the way on this, but the Central Bank of Egypt’s SME financing initiative was cited as significant.

The report also aggregated global competitiveness data from MENA countries that were released last September. Egypt is the 100th most competitive country in the world out of 137 countries studied, with an overall score of 3.9 out of 7. The UAE ranks as the 17th most competitive country in the world. The other MENA countries to make it to the top-30 globally were Qatar (25th) and Saudi Arabia (30th). The rankings are based on 12 factors (or pillars, as the report calls them), including the macro economic climate, government institutions and transparency, education and infrastructure.

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