CFR Presents

Development Channel

Issues and innovations in global economic development

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Middle East and North Africa"

Where Airstrikes Fall Short, the West Can Still Act to End Violence Against Women

by Guest Blogger for Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A Shiite Muslim girl takes part in a candlelight protest against the ongoing conflict in Iraq, in New Delhi, India, July 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee). A Shiite Muslim girl takes part in a candlelight protest against the ongoing conflict in Iraq, in New Delhi, India, July 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Christina Asquith, a journalist who has covered women’s rights in the Middle East for ten years and the author of Sisters in War: A Story of Love, Family and Survival in the New Iraq.

Read more »

Yazidi Slave Markets Just the Latest Atrocity in the Syrian Conflict

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carries a Kurdish Syrian refugee girl to the first aid tent after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, September 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Murad Sezer). A member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carries a Kurdish Syrian refugee girl to the first aid tent after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, September 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Murad Sezer).

This week, reports of Yazidi women forced into marriage, raped, and sold as slaves to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters have spurred horror and outrage around the world. Human Rights Watch reports that these captives, some as young as ten or twelve, have been abducted from their families and been beaten into submitting to marriage to their captors. Read more »

UN Human Rights Council Calls for a Mission to Investigate ISIS Violations in Iraq

by Catherine Powell
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, in Iraq, August 11, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Rodi Said). Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, in Iraq, August 11, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Rodi Said).

In the midst of an otherwise depressing news cycle on Iraq, the recent resolution out of Geneva from the UN Human Rights Council is a positive note. The resolution, adopted on Monday, requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to dispatch a fact finding mission to Iraq to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and associated terrorist groups. Read more »

The Status of Women and Girls in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Catherine Powell and Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the Islamic State-controlled northern province of Raqqa, Iraq, March 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Stringer). Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the Islamic State-controlled northern province of Raqqa, Iraq, March 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Stringer).

This post is by Catherine Powell, fellow for CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy Program; and Amelia Wolf, research associate for CFR’s Center for Preventive Action and International Institutions and Global Governance Program.

Read more »

Segovia: A New Player in Cash Transfers

by Isobel Coleman
Customers are seen at mobile money transfers kiosks, known as M-Pesa agents, near Ngong township in the outskirts of Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 15, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Thomas Mukoya). Customers are seen at mobile money transfers kiosks, known as M-Pesa agents, near Ngong township in the outskirts of Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 15, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Thomas Mukoya).

For several years now I’ve been following the progress of an innovative new philanthropy: GiveDirectly. Its cofounders, Michael Faye and Paul Niehaus, started the organization in 2008 while doing their PhD’s in economics at Harvard. Their idea was simple. Given mounting evidence that cash transfers are among the most efficient and effective ways to address poverty (and that the poor know very well what to do with money), why not start a charity that skips the rigmarole of providing services to poor people in poor countries and just gives them cash?

Read more »

World Bank Report on Women’s Empowerment Breaks New Ground

by Isobel Coleman
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman participate in an event on empowering woman and girls at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Jonathan Ernst). Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman participate in an event on empowering woman and girls at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Jonathan Ernst).

Over the past several decades, the World Bank has been an important thought leader on the value of investing in women and girls. In 2001, the Bank released a seminal report, “Engendering Development – Through Gender Equality in Rights, Resources, and Voice,” which made the incontrovertible case that investing in girls’ education and other aspects of female empowerment is critical for poverty alleviation. More recently, in 2012, the Bank devoted its annual World Development Report to women and girls, highlighting that, despite gains, gender gaps persist and greater gender equality is critical to growth.

Read more »

Women Starting Up the Middle East

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A woman films with her iPad in Bahrain, January 2012 (Courtesy Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed). A woman films with her iPad in Bahrain, January 2012 (Courtesy Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed).

Every year, the World Economic Forum publishes its Global Gender Gap Report, tracking the world’s progress toward eliminating gender inequality. This year’s report, published in October, included some good news: in the nearly 140 countries counted, more than 90 percent of the divide in health and education has been closed. Still, there remains a huge gender gap in economic participation, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where men are 60 percent more economically empowered than women.

Read more »

Is a Start-Up Spring Coming to the Middle East?

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Young entrepreneurs at Oasis 500, a seed investment firm based in Amman, Jordan that finances start-ups in the Middle East, November 2011. (Courtesy Reuters/Muhammad Hamed). Young entrepreneurs at Oasis 500, a seed investment firm based in Amman, Jordan that finances start-ups in the Middle East, November 2011. (Courtesy Reuters/Muhammad Hamed).

The Middle East is seldom associated with the start-up world. When thinking of the region, few imagine entrepreneurs working away, hustling to secure funding and find customers for their fledgling businesses. But that image is increasingly a reality. Read more »

New Insights on the Relationship Between Democracy and Wealth

by Terra Lawson-Remer
Protesters in Cairo rally against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, February 22, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters). Protesters in Cairo rally against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, February 22, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters).

Do the chances of democracy’s success in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, or Myanmar depend on each country’s wealth? And does China’s growing prosperity portend a democratic transition there anytime soon?

Read more »

Sports, Gender Equality, and Development

by Terra Lawson-Remer
Saudi Arabia's Jeddah United (in white) shake hands with Jordan's Al Reyadeh before their friendly basketball game in Amman on April 21, 2009 (Ali Jarekji/Courtesy Reuters). Saudi Arabia's Jeddah United (in white) shake hands with Jordan's Al Reyadeh before their friendly basketball game in Amman on April 21, 2009 (Ali Jarekji/Courtesy Reuters).

As my colleague Isobel Coleman wrote last week, Saudi Arabia has just leaped a small hurdle towards gender equality: announcing last week that it will allow female athletics in private schools. Until now girls have been prohibited from playing sports as a part of formal education. The move comes on the heels of last year’s decision to allow two Saudi women to compete in the Olympics for the first time in the country’s history.

Read more »