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Arab Human Development in the Twenty-first Century

Arab Human Development in the Twenty-first Century: The Primacy of Empowerment

Edited by Bahgat Korany
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    Arab Human Development in the Twenty-first Century
    Book Description:

    With its emphasis on the primacy of change, this study arrives at a particularly auspicious moment, as the Middle East continues to be convulsed by the greatest upheavals in generations, which have come to be known as the Arab Spring. Originally prepared as the tenth-anniversary volume of the UNDP’s Arab Human Development Report, Arab Human Development in the Twenty-first Century places empowerment at the center of human development in the Arab world, viewing it not only from the vantage point of a more equitable distribution of economic resources but also of fundamental legal, educational, and political reform. The ten chapters in this book follow closely this political economy framework. They look back at what Arab countries have achieved since the early 2000s and forward to what remains to be done to reach full development. Supported by a wealth of statistical material, they cover the rule of law, the evolution of media, the persistence of corruption, the draining of resources through armed conflict, the dominance and increase of poverty, the environment, and religious education. The concluding chapter attempts an inventory of the world literature and different experiences on democratic transition to explore where the region could be heading. This critical and timely study is indispensable reading to development specialists and to Middle East scholars and students alike, as well as to anyone with an interest in the future trajectory of the region.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-621-6
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Boxes
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  7. Contributors
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  8. Part 1: Toward the Twenty-first Century

    • CHAPTER 1 Redefining Development for a New Generation: A Political Economy Analysis
      (pp. 3-20)
      Bahgat Korany

      According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), among others, at the beginning of the twenty-first century Tunisia and Egypt were likened to the Asian Tiger countries as Arab models of the success of neo-liberal economics and the Washington Consensus. Indeed, their annual growth rates were the highest among the non-oil-producing Arab countries, ranging from 4 percent to 5 percent per year in the first decade of the twentieth century. Yet it was in Tunisia, soon followed by Egypt, that the massive “Arab Spring” emerged, swelled, and then ultimately toppled presidents in January and February 2011, respectively....

  9. Part 2: Empowerment Begins at the Top

    • Introduction to Part 2
      (pp. 23-26)
      Bahgat Korany

      Change toward empowerment must begin at the top—at the decision-making center. Our main argument is that this CNS is what makes a difference, that is, it is a necessary and sufficient prerequisite to start and guide the development process. This argument is inspired by the primacy of the question “Who governs?” The crucial function of who decides is accepted by all schools of thought, whatever their ideology or cultural background, in the past and at present.

      The complexity of governance can be simplified by Weberian political sociology and even rendered in a straightforward equation:

      G = L + F...

    • CHAPTER 2 From the Law of the Ruler to the Rule of Law
      (pp. 27-66)
      Mhamed Malki

      Understanding the rule of law in Arab countries first requires understanding the concept of the rule of law and its relation to empowerment, identifying the obstacles to establishing and consolidating the rule of law in political practice, and analyzing the reasons behind the lack of empowerment. The weak state of the rule of law in Arab countries is not inevitable; it is liable to reform where the will to change exists. The question is how to foster the rule of law to enable empowerment.

      Rule of Law as a Means of Empowerment The rule of law is related to such...

    • CHAPTER 3 Transforming the Media: From Tool of the Rulers to Tool of Empowerment
      (pp. 67-104)
      Lina Khatib

      The Arab media are transforming as a result of their influential role during the reform movements that took off in 2011—the Arab Spring. But challenges remain. When the media can act freely and report from multiple political perspectives, citizens are empowered to become active and effective participants in the political process. Achieving that requires transparency and accountability, with credibility as a shared responsibility of government, media institutions, and media professionals. Political liberalization and expanded freedoms need to be coupled with media owners, journalists, and governments joining forces to create media institutions and a media environment that are credible. Arab...

    • CHAPTER 4 Fighting Corruption: From Missing Link to Development Priority
      (pp. 105-130)
      Mustafa Khawaja

      Corruption has engaged people’s attention in Arab countries for some time, though not always with urgency or the desired impact. Combating corruption did not become a pressing priority until the early 2000s, and the push for reform intensified during the “uprisings” of 2011 and the events that followed.

      Calls for reform emerged sporadically in the 1990s, led by a few individuals and civil society organizations (CSOs) that argued for the need to oppose and expose corruption. But their narrow efforts failed to overcome the many challenges, from sparse information on patterns of corruption and mechanisms to fight it to limited...

  10. Part 3: Supporting Empowerment Processes

    • Introduction to Part 3
      (pp. 133-138)
      Bahgat Korany

      Poverty is about more than income; it is multi-dimensional. It is about social and political marginalization—in a word: disempowerment. But determining how many people are poor, even at the measurable material level, is still problematic. It depends on the poverty line used ($1.25 or $2 a day), and measuring real purchasing power can be more problematic as it is usually dynamic, changing with prices and inflation.¹

      Chapter 5 presents the essential statistics on poverty in the Arab world and discusses their implications, especially for youth and women. Despite the international consensus on the urgency of ending poverty, results have...

    • CHAPTER 5 Ending Persistent Poverty: Pathways to Reform and Empowerment
      (pp. 139-166)
      Sabria Al-Thawr

      Despite intensified efforts to reduce poverty, deprivation and inequality still force millions of people to endure harsh living conditions due to their limited options and the elites’ control of wealth, resources, and productive assets. Unequal access to opportunities excludes a broad sector of society, preventing them from participating and making their own choices. Fair, balanced, and sustainable development will be achieved only when all dimensions of empowerment receive equal priority.

      Following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, 192 states agreed to cooperate to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals. Foremost among them are eliminating hunger and cutting poverty...

    • CHAPTER 6 A New Approach for Managing Conflicts
      (pp. 167-214)
      Louisa Dris-Aït Hamadouche

      Numerous conflicts riddle the Arab region. Some are intensely violent, others less so, and still others are dormant. Some are between states; others are internal, but with cross-border repercussions.

      This chapter focuses largely on the internal conflicts, although some of them arise from clashes between states or from foreign interventions. It investigates how Arab states have managed these conflicts and how their management affects human development. To what extent have the conflicts drained human and material resources, disrupted development, further fragmented society, and weakened Arab countries? What can be done to escape the vicious cycle of violence and coercion and...

    • CHAPTER 7 Urbanization, Climate Change, and the Environment
      (pp. 215-238)
      Zeyad Makhamreh

      Studying and understanding the origins and nature of environmental problems in Arab countries is the first step in learning to conserve and sustain resources and boost economic growth. This chapter analyzes the environmental degradation in Arab cities and the challenges to Arab human security resulting from climate change, with an emphasis on empowering Arab citizens to cope with these issues.

      These challenges are interrelated. Rapid population growth, changing lifestyles, and rising energy consumption have led to high population concentrations in urban centers. This has accelerated environmental degradation in Arab cities, increased pressure on infrastructure, and raised energy consumption. The increase...

  11. Part 4: Rooting Empowerment in Identity

    • Introduction to Part 4
      (pp. 241-244)
      Bahgat Korany

      As in many other post-colonial and deregulated societies into whose structures the colonial legacy penetrates deeply, the issue of identity in the Arab world is paramount. The speedy rise to power of Islamists in the post– Arab Spring context is due not only to their organizational power and the corruption of former regimes, but also—and mainly—due to their emphasis on defending or reclaiming a threatened identity. To be effective, the convincing argument affirms, development has to be ‘authentic’; development does not mean satisfying material needs only, but also spiritual and moral ones, at both the individual and national...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Role of Education in Individual and Sustainable Development
      (pp. 245-284)
      Najoua Fezzaa Ghriss

      The changes in economic, social, and cultural aspects of life shaped by recent scientific and technological advances have motivated education authorities worldwide to rethink their choices regarding the systems they oversee. They are seeking new pedagogical approaches that are better able to respond to the demands of an ever more competitive world that needs human capital capable of driving development. The main focus is on basic education, not only because it is a fundamental right, but also because “it is the entry point for lifelong learning and the primary path to building an essential human capability, namely, knowledge.”¹ Basic education...

    • CHAPTER 9 The Formation of Religious Leaders and Impact of Enlightened Imams
      (pp. 285-324)
      Baqer S. Alnajjar

      Religion is the foundation of Arab life, with a vital role in the public and private spheres. Its rituals, worship, and ethical orientation are important in the lives of the region’s people and as the foundation for the state and society. For most Arab countries religion constitutes the core of their cultural identity and political legitimacy, and Islam is the state religion or constitutes the pillars holding the basis for the state’s political structure and distribution of power.

      This chapter on the contexts in which Arab devoutness and religious discourse are formed explores several questions. How does religion contribute to...

  12. Part 5: A New History in the Making?

    • CHAPTER 10 The Birth Pangs of Transitioning from Authoritarianism: The Long Spring of Empowerment
      (pp. 327-352)
      Bahgat Korany

      Previous analyses on Arab (mis)development—such as UNDP’s well-quoted Arab Human Development Reports—addressed at least three Arab deficits in knowledge, freedom, and the status of women. In this book, we added a fourth one: a deficit in the ability to adapt. After almost four hundred pages, five hundred endnotes drawing on more than six hundred reference works, and data presented in twelve tables and fifty-three figures, what have we learned? How can these lessons help an Arab world going through the pangs of transition?

      Transition is indeed painful. We felt this as both citizens and authors who have been...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 353-378)
  14. Index
    (pp. 379-394)