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Why we should invest in getting more kids to read — and how to do it

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Data shows that huge swaths of populations in developing countries are not learning to read. Scaling up early reading interventions will be a first step toward addressing these high illiteracy rates.
Data shows that huge swaths of populations in developing countries are not learning to read. Scaling up early reading interventions will be a first step toward addressing these high illiteracy rates. (Photo: Liang Qiang / World Bank)


It is estimated that more than 250 million school children throughout the world cannot read. This is unfortunate because literacy has enormous benefits – both for the individual and society. Higher literacy rates are associated with healthier populations, less crime, greater economic growth, and higher employment rates. For a person, literacy is a foundational skill required to acquire advanced skills. These, in turn, confer higher wages and more employment across labor markets .

Women driving the Middle East and North Africa forward, one business innovation at a time

Ayat Soliman's picture


Our continued belief in the enormous resourcefulness, resilience and sheer drive of young Arab women has yet again been reconfirmed. 

Profiles of the Diaspora: Selma Turki

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Born in Tunisia, Selma Turki left her native country for France when she was two. She returned to Tunisia for high school and to pass her Baccalaureate. She studied architecture for two years at the Paris Ecole des Beaux Arts before moving to Canada to pursue her studies in computer science. She also accomplished leadership and management education at Henley Business School (UK) and Berkeley (US).

Profiles of the Diaspora: Riad Hartani

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Riad Hartani was born and raised in Algiers. He graduated as an engineer from Ecole Polytechnique with highest honors and went on to obtain Engineering and Master degrees in France, both with highest distinctions. At the age of 25, he was awarded a Doctorate in Artificial Intelligence with highest honors and best thesis distinction, from the University of Paris. Subsequently he pursued his work as a post-Doctoral fellow in Machine Learning and Computational Intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley.

Middle East and North Africa countries through the lens of the 2016 Transparency International Report

Wael Elshabrawy's picture


It’s been six years since the citizens of the Middle East and North Africa came into the streets to demonstrate against, among other pressing issues, economic injustice and lack of government transparency. A wave of hope and optimism swept across the region and new governments were ushered in around the region, with leaders, standing on the shoulders of the “Arab Spring” promising a new era of accountability, openness, political freedom and economic opportunity.

Profiles of the Diaspora: Rym Baouendi

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Born in Tunisia, Rym Baouendi left at the age of 18. After passing her Tunisian baccalaureate exam, she attended the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) in Lyon (France) where she obtained a Master in civil engineering and urban planning as well as a degree in architecture from the Lyon School of Architecture. She later obtained a Master in building engineering from Concordia University in Montreal (Canada).

Profiles of the Diaspora: Mounir Beltaifa

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It has been 34 years since Mounir Beltaifa left Tunisia for France, spending five of those years in Morocco. Beltaifa was born in Kalâa Kébira, Tunisia, in 1964, and attended primary and secondary school in Sousse, where he distinguished himself as a student. In 1981, he packed his bags for Paris, where he enrolled in preparatory courses for admission to the grandes écoles (France’s system of elite universities). He completed his academic curriculum and graduated from the civil engineering school, École des Ponts/ParisTech, in 1988.

Profiles of the Diaspora: Hanane Benkhallouk

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Hanane Benkhallouk

“You can take the man out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the man.”
 
A native of Morocco, Hanane Benkhallouk began her career in New York before moving to Dubai in 2005. Along the way, she held senior positions in sales and marketing, communications and business development. She has led multinational, interdisciplinary teams for international market projects – MENA, Asia, Europe and the USA – and in diverse sectors, from finance and banking to retail, real estate investment, franchise development and consulting services.

Women in the changing world of work: Not just more jobs but better jobs for women

Namita Datta's picture
While addressing gender gaps in labor force participation rates remains a key concern in several countries, it is even more critical to focus on the quality of the jobs to which women have access. Photo: Arne Hoel / World Bank

This year’s International Women’s Day “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030” places great emphasis on equality and economic empowerment. When countries give women greater opportunities to participate in the economy, the benefits extend far beyond individual girls and women but also to societies and economies as a whole. Addressing gender gaps in accessing good quality jobs is not just the right thing to do from a human rights perspective; it is also smart economics. A recent study shows that raising labor participation of women at par with men can increase GDP in the United States by 5 percent, in the UAE by 12 percent and in Egypt by 34 percent.

Can Africa grow its manufacturing sector & create jobs?

Francois Steenkamp's picture
Africa jobs
Since 2008, the share of manufacturing in GDP across Africa has stagnated at around 10%, calling into question if African economies have undergone structural transformation vital to sustained economic growth. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank

Over the past decade and a half, Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced rapid economic growth at an average annual rate of 5.5%. But since 2008, the share of manufacturing in GDP across the continent has stagnated at around 10%.  This calls into question as to whether African economies have undergone structural transformation – the reallocation of economic activity across broad sectors -- which is considered vital for sustained economic growth in the long-run.


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