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How the Middle East Can Escape the Middle-Income Trap

The Middle East and North Africa urgently needs a new social contract focused on economically empowering the hundreds of millions of youth who are expected to join the labor market in the coming decades. The key to success will be technological adoption, adaptation, and innovation, encouraged and facilitated by governments.

WASHINGTON, DC – For developing countries, achieving middle-income status is both a blessing and a curse. While extreme poverty and deprivation have been overcome, what typically follows is a growth slowdown that, historically, has made further progress toward high-income levels exceedingly rare. That has certainly been the case for the largely middle-income countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). But is there a way out?