The Economics of the Arab Spring
Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, UK
H.E. Dr Gouda Abdel-Khalek, Minister of Solidarity and Social Justice, Government of Egypt
Rima Khalaf Hunaidi, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
The 'Arab Spring' of 2011 requires businesses, governments and development agencies to rethink their approaches to the Middle East and North Africa, to question their understandings of stability and to reassess their ideas about risk. There is great potential for positive change if the complex causes of unrest – political, economic, demographic, and social – are addressed.
The region’s economic problems cannot be properly understood independently of politics and fiscal handouts will not solve the issues. On the other hand, addressing political issues alone will not be enough to meet people’s aspirations. In virtually every Arab country, protestors have focused on both political and economic demands, sometimes summarised as both bread and dignity. Revolutions could quickly turn sour if living standards and employment numbers do not improve.
This conference will bring together a diverse range of experts from different disciplines, sitting bankers alongside young Arab political activists, businessmen alongside trade unionists, academics alongside entrepreneurs and experienced policymakers alongside emerging new thinkers, addressing ways to understand – and opportunities to improve – the complex economic issues of the Arab world.
This event is a Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Programme conference in partnership with FTI Consulting.
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Conference Summary (pdf)