The Economic and Political Aftermath of the Arab Spring
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The Economic and Political Aftermath of the Arab Spring

Perspectives from Middle East and North African Countries

Edited by Carlo Altomonte and Massimiliano Ferrara

The economies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have always been characterized by economic volatility and social disparities. The recent ‘Arab Spring’ wave of protests has increased political uncertainty and instability in the region, and this timely book provides an in-depth analysis of the subsequent changes from economic, political and environmental perspectives. The international contributors provide a comprehensive overview of the situation in the Mediterranean Basin, addressing a wide range of contributing factors including: • productivity and innovation • trade and foreign investment • changing geo-political equilibria • labour markets and the role of women • the environment, climate change and energy sourcing.
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Chapter 7: Innovation performance of MENA countries: where do we stand?

Maria Giovanna Bosco and Roberto Mavilia


Since the pioneering studies of Robert Solow, the origins of economic growth have been pinpointed in innovation. Superior technologies provide gains in productivity and allow for a positive economic growth even in a world whose steady state would imply a long-term null economic growth. Therefore, the ability of countries to produce or import new technologies lies at the heart of the so-called process of convergence, which supposedly leads laggard countries (in terms of economic development) toward the best performing, industrialized countries. Once upon a time, this last definition referred mainly to OECD countries, but today, as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries are stepping faster on the technological scale and the economic and political crises are spreading across industrialized countries, this definition alone does not apply any more. The position of the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries lies somehow in the middle between the fastest growing countries of Asia and South America and the slowest growing countries of Old Europe. Notwithstanding, Europe remains the dream and the main reference partner for most MENA countries. In the last decades, the growth performance of MENA countries has only been moderate, if compared with other emerging countries, particularly in Asia. In practice, from 1961 to 2011, the annual average growth rate amounted to 5.56 per cent in MENA countries or to 4.99 per cent if we don't consider GCC countries (World Bank, 2012).

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