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Symposium 2013

Solution for The Future of the Arab World

The Challenge

In December 2010, as its outset, the Arab Spring was non-ideological and leaderless. In many respects, it seemed to be the product of a “generational revolution”: 100 million young Arabs were risi ...

In December 2010, as its outset, the Arab Spring was non-ideological and leaderless. In many respects, it seemed to be the product of a “generational revolution”: 100 million young Arabs were rising against stifling economic and political structures that had stripped them of their freedoms while giving them in return one of the poorest education systems in the world, the highest unemployment rate together with a yawning income gap. Both Tunisia and Egypt demonstrated that rapid economic growth does not buy political stability unless political institutions and public governance are allowed to mature equally rapidly.

Create a regional structural adjustment fund (a Marshall Plan for the Arab world) with reform requirements to restructure centralized economies

A regional structural adjustment fund for the Arab world could be funded in part by the Gulf Cooperation Council, which should be urged to pool its money rather than using it for defined political ends. Other sources of funding could be the Muslim zakat (giving 2.5% of income to charity), as well as funding from the European Union, the G-8 and economically successful and predominantly Muslim countries, such as Turkey and Malaysia. Among the priorities should be reforms to spur employment, including for women, reforms of the education system to prepare graduates for the job market, and increased infrastructure investment.

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