THE ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
In collaboration with the Brookings Doha Center a webinar entitled “A Decade of Protests: Why Governance Reform is Critical in the Arab World” was organized on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 to discuss the future of governance reform in the MENA region.
The MENA region is home to some of the largest public sectors in the world, yet the quality of service delivery is often poor. The region is also one of the few places globally that has lost ground in the past decade on indices for government effectiveness and control of corruption. A recent volume published by Brookings, Public Sector Reform in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons of Experience for a Region in Transition, explored government reform initiatives over the past two decades. Some were remarkable successes; others were notable failures; and several ended up in the muddled middle.
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Arab Spring, much attention is rightly being given to the broader governance trajectory of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Beyond the public debate over democratic change, another long-standing struggle is taking place as many countries work to reform state institutions to make them more efficient, effective, and responsive.
This webinar aimed to discuss the future of governance reform in the MENA region. The panelists addressed the following questions: What challenges does the COVID-19 pandemic pose for the region’s governance reform agenda? How can governments effectively respond to the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic, including the collapse in oil prices and the massive dislocation of livelihoods? And how can governments successfully chart a path for the region to recover from the most severe socioeconomic downturn in its post-independence history?
Joseph Bahout, Director, Issam Fares Institute at AUB
Hala Bsaisu Lattouf, Former Minister of Social Development, Government of Jordan
Rami Khouri, Director of Global Engagement, American University of Beirut
Robert Beschel, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Doha Center
Tarik Yousef, Director and Senior Fellow, Brookings Doha Center