Embracing the new technologies that are rapidly transforming the world would be a way for the countries of the Middle East and North Africa to unleash the potential of their large and tech-savvy youth populations. For this to happen, the region will need to create the key ‘digital public goods,’ with mobile money one of the most important.
In the modern digital age, broadband internet and online payment systems are the bridges and roads of the traditional, physical economy. They connect businesses with customers and create markets. For this digital market to function, it is vital that businesses and their customers have a means for transferring money electronically.
For a successful model, the Arab World can look to Kenya’s development of mobile money or “M-Pesa”. In many ways, the elements that lead to M-Pesa’s success in Kenya are already present in the Arab World. Young people in MENA are digitally savvy, are active on social media and are some of the heaviest users of mobile phones in the world.
Acre is experiencing a renaissance of forests with the attendant benefits for its people. The state has become an emblem of successful deforestation control, restoration of degraded lands, and economic inclusion. In recent years, other Amazon countries have begun to learn from the transformation of Acre.
The Amazon biome ranges over nine countries, with 60 percent of the rainforest located in northern Brazil. Colombia, Peru and Brazil together contain 83 percent of the Amazon. This largest continuous rainforest is also home to about 33 million people, and it sequesters about 70 billion tons of carbon, benefiting the entire planet.
A series of recently approved GEF Grants to Brazil (USD $60.3 million), Colombia (USD $21 million) and Peru ($27.3 million), are supporting the implementation of strong protected areas and forest restoration activities to enhance livelihoods.
Government representatives from other Amazon countries, Colombia and Peru, witnessed first-hand how the World Bank-supported PROACRE works with isolated and marginalized communities, providing them with health services, technical assistance, tools, and supplies for small scale agriculture and forest conservation initiatives. Families with health plans increased from 15 percent in 2008 to 78 percent in 2017, for example.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing and most important economic sectors in the world providing benefits to both host communities and destination areas. In 2017, international tourist arrivals reached a new record high at over 1.3 billion according to the latest UNWTO Tourism Highlights. The sector has now seen uninterrupted growth in arrivals for eight straight years. It also represents 10.4% of GDP and in 2017 the tourism industry supported 313 million jobs or 1 in 10 jobs globally.
That is why the World Bank Group continues to be committed to invest funds, knowledge and expertise to support tourism for development.
Income within these communities and statewide GDP consistently increased at the same time Acre curbed deforestation and increased protected areas.