Economics

How ordinary Arab citizens see their Present and Future

All of us are after exploring views of ordinary citizens– not least the decision makers who want to guarantee that their policies hit it right. What do findings from the Arab Barometer, Baseera and other survey research tell us about , for instance , who is the enemy/friend; how is Shari’a to be applied ; what do people think about…

Are the unhappy unemployed to blame for unrest? Scrutinising participation in the Arab Spring uprisings

Abstract Unemployment is considered a significant driver behind the so-called Arab Spring, and more generally behind protests, rebellions, and civil wars. However, the empirical evidence of this hypothesised link between unemployment and political instability is scant and contradictory. This article contributes to filling this gap. In addition, this is the first study which will concentrate on the role of unemployment…

Reforming Arab economies in times of distrust

…RISING ASPIRATIONS, TIMID REFORMS After the regional slowdown in growth that followed the start of the Arab Spring, authorities in 2011 mostly focused on macroeconomic stabilization efforts that had been delayed until they became inevitable. These policies—which included cuts in consumer subsidies and increased taxes—were deeply unpopular and eroded the purchasing power of the middle class. According to the Arab…

Will Algeria’s New President Resume Politics as Usual or Bring Genuine Change?

…Determined Protestors Protesters see Tebboune as very much a part of that ruling elite rather than a step toward democratic change. The protests have seen widespread support from across the political, ideological, and socioeconomic spectrum, including participation by women’s, human rights, cultural, and student organizations. The protest movement has also created new spaces for citizens to debate major issues relating to…

Writing the Next Chapters of Morocco and Algeria

Morocco is no stranger to protests, but its situation differs from that of Algeria. A recent article on the BBC using data from the Arab Barometer survey asked the question, “Could Morocco see the next uprising after Sudan and Algeria?” While it was selective in its choice of data points, for example, attitudes toward religion, the point of the article, which…

Nine years after Bouazizi set himself on fire, there is a lot riding on Tunisia’s new government

Nine years ago, Tunisian street seller Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in the rural town of Sidi Bouzid, setting off the Arab uprisings. This year, as Tunisians commemorate the events that ushered in a democratic transition, the country is embarking on the next phase of that transition with a newly elected government that is determined to finally deliver on…

Anti-corruption Strategies: What Can MENA Activists Learn from Experiences in Other Countries?

Lessons from Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Singapore Paris, 9 December 2019 – On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day, the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) issued a new comparative study presenting examples of how four countries from the global south have fought systemic corruption and what strategies civil society organizations used to raise public awareness, change attitudes and hold public and…

An Expiry Date for Despots?

A new wave of Arab uprisings suggests that the authoritarian bargain of the past may be collapsing. While thousands of Algerian citizens have continued to protest peacefully for the 40th consecutive week, demanding an accountable government and an end to corruption, streets in Iraq and Lebanon have turned into places of mass protests and ongoing confrontations between angry citizens and…

Across the Middle East, they are done with false prophets ​

When do demonstrations become a revolution? We romanticise the failures of the Arab Spring. But success has its costs, too. In the modern Middle East, only the Iranian Revolution has succeeded in bringing a new ruling class to power. But the 1979 revolution failed to bring about what the philosopher Michel Foucault predicted would be a new political dawn –…

Five Lessons From the New Arab Uprisings

…The fifth and final lesson is that the call for change in the region goes beyond electoral democracy and extends to deep socioeconomic reforms. Iraq and Lebanon show this clearly: relatively free and fair elections have already been held but have served only to reinforce corrupt sectarian regimes. According to the fifth wave of the Arab Barometer, the economic situation…