flowers growing near mosque Poritsky via Flickr

La croissance économique après le Printemps arabe

CAMBRIDGE – Cinq ans après le début des soulèvements du Printemps arabe, l'Égypte, la Jordanie, le Maroc et la Tunisie ont atteint un niveau raisonnable de stabilité politique. Pourtant, la croissance économique reste tiède et le Fonds Monétaire International ne s'attend pas à ce que le rythme d'expansion dépasse 1,5% par habitant cette année. Compte tenu de l'important potentiel de rattrapage et de la main d'œuvre jeune dans cette région, il nous importe de comprendre les raisons de ce phénomène.

Une explication évidente est que malgré des progrès significatifs en vue d'établir des gouvernements stables, ces pays restent soumis à des risques politiques qui font peur aux investisseurs privés. Mais les investissements privés étaient modestes avant les soulèvements de 2011, alors que ces risques étaient déjà élevés. Ce n'est donc pas une explication suffisante.

Un examen de l'histoire économique récente de ces pays fournit un aperçu du problème. Les économies de marché sont relativement nouvelles pour le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique du Nord. Elles sont arrivées seulement après les années 1980, lorsque le modèle de croissance économique axée sur l'État s'est effondré sous le poids de son inefficacité (et de la dette qui en a résulté). Cependant contrairement à l'Amérique latine ou à l'Europe de l'Est, les pays arabes ont libéralisé leur économie, mais sans toutefois libéraliser pour autant leur politique. Les autocrates soutenus par les puissances occidentales sont restés bien en place.

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