The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been experiencing deteriorating parameters for both food production and consumption for some time. Agricultural output is constrained by limited water resources, diminishing arable land, and poor public policy. Consumption is driven by high population growth and subsidies that encourage waste. The region is food insecure, both on […]
The calls for democracy during the “Arab Spring” presented the Saudi Arabian regime with serious challenges. Traditional allies such as the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt fell by the wayside leaving Riyadh practically alone as defender of an authoritarian government. The flames of protest grew closer as both Yemen and Bahrain experienced major unrest. An […]
The gap between dominant Western perceptions of the Middle East and the region’s reality is dangerously wide. While the “Arab Spring” is celebrated as an advance for moderation and democracy, in fact the advance is going to revolutionary Islamists. Developments in Turkey and Egypt especially threaten to plunge the Middle East back into an […]
Fifty years of rapid population growth in the Middle East is coming to an end. The Middle East is experiencing the same “demographic transition” to slow population growth that other areas have gone through. The immediate reason for the slower population growth is a fall in the number of children born to the average woman over her lifespan, known as the “total fertility rate” (TFR). While contraception availability and urbanization played a part in the declining TFR, the main factor was the empowerment of women. In recent decades, Middle Eastern women have made great progress at gaining more equal access to education, but that has not yet translated into more access to employment outside the home. The demographic transition through which the Middle East is passing presents an opportunity that is also a challenge. The opportunity is several decades in which the economy faces a relatively light burden in caring for children and the elderly. However, the Middle East can only take advantage of this opportunity if it can create enough jobs for the young people born during the years of rapid population growth. If jobs are not created in sufficient numbers to absorb those joining the labor market, the resulting rise in unemployment could have a considerable political impact. Meanwhile, within a few decades, the Middle East is expected to experience a rapid increase in the elderly population, which by 2050 will exceed the number of children in many of the region’s countries.
Middle East Review of International Affairs Published by the GLORIA Center, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya Volume 11, No. 3, Article 9/9 – September 2007 Total Circulation 25,000 HOW THE ARAB REGIMES DEFEATED THE LIBERALIZATION CHALLENGE Barry Rubin* *A version of this article has been published by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. This article […]
Published by the GLORIA Center,Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya Volume 11, No. 2, Article 3/8 – June 2007Total Circulation 23,500 FARAJ FAWDA, OR THE COST OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSIONAna Belï¿½n Soage* Secular activist and author Faraj Fawda was assassinated by Islamist militants in 1992 after al-Azhar accused him of blasphemy. His writings, in which he criticized the […]