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Beyond the Arab awakening: Policies and investments for poverty reduction and food security

This report combines poverty data and economic analysis to inform debate on policy priorities for poverty reduction and food security in light of the "Arab Awakening". It argues for national dialogues and joint economic development strategies in the region, with sound laws and accountable politicians who accept democratic values.

The report suggests that poverty and income inequality in the Arab world are higher than previously thought. It introduces a new welfare measure of food insecurity at the national level and in households, which is used to classify countries into five risk groups. It also presents analyses showing that unlike other regions, poor people in Arab countries benefit more from growth in the manufacturing and service sector, rather than agriculture; and that high levels of public spending — particularly in education — do not stimulate growth as much as in other regions.

The report highlights three policy recommendations: improving data and capacity to provide evidence for decision-making; fostering growth that enhances food security; and improving the efficiency of public spending.

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