New Hariri Center Publications Assess Political and Economic Trends in the Arab Transition Countries

With two new publications, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East offers a comprehensive picture of the degree of political and social change in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya since protestors took to the streets in 2011, as well as the economic impact of the Arab uprising on the transition countries.

The State of Arab Transitions: Hope Resilient Despite Many Unmet Demands

Report authors Mirette F. Mabrouk, deputy director for regional programs, and Stefanie A. Hausheer, assistant director, examine the progress in achieving the original demands of protestors and contend that local actors would embrace greater international support to help facilitate genuine transitions.

By examining six key themes—political polarization, constitution-drafting processes, transitional justice, economic progress, civil society freedoms, and the future of political Islam—the authors conclude that while the results so far have fallen short of expectations, there is still a strong indigenous commitment to democratic change and a barrier of fear has been broken irrevocably. Citizens in these countries remain firm in their demands for reform and popular pressure will continue to push future governments to realize the goals of the revolutions.

The Economic Consequences of the Arab Spring

In a new issue brief, senior fellow Mohsin Khan contends that although political turmoil has dominated economic decision-making in the Arab transition countries and Jordan and Morocco during the last three years, there is some encouraging evidence that these economies will turn around in 2014.

Analyzing economic developments in the Arab transition countries, Khan notes that social unrest, higher oil prices, slower global growth, and regional spillovers resulted in sharp declines in gross domestic products and rising unemployment. To avoid another round of political upheaval, governments will need to balance policies to achieve macroeconomic stability and higher economic growth. Assistance from the International Monetary Fund and other international donors will help to stabilize the economies, but ultimately only market-oriented reforms that give a leading role to private sector will deliver the necessary growth rates to generate sufficient new jobs and improve standards of living.

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