Introduction:Arab populations have many similarities and dissimilarities. They share culture, language and religion but they are also subject to economic, political and social differences. The purpose of this study is to understand the causes of the rising trend of diabetes prevalence in order to suggest efficient actions susceptible to reduce the burden of diabetes in the Arab world.Method:We use principal component analysis to illustrate similarities and differences between Arab countries according to four variables: 1) the prevalence of diabetes, 2) impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 3) diabetes related deaths and 4) diabetes related expenditure per person. A linear regression is also used to study the correlation between human development index and diabetes prevalence.Results:Arab countries are mainly classified into three groups according to the diabetes comparative prevalence (high, medium and low) but other differences are seen in terms of diabetes-related mortality and diabetes related expenditure per person. We also investigate the correlation between the human development index (HDI) and diabetes comparative prevalence (R = 0.81).Conclusion:The alarming rising trend of diabetes prevalence in the Arab region constitutes a real challenge for heath decision makers. In order to alleviate the burden of diabetes, preventive strategies are needed, based essentially on sensitization for a more healthy diet with regular exercise but health authorities are also asked to provide populations with heath- care and early diagnosis to avoid the high burden caused by complications of diabetes.
Liberalizing Monarchies? How Gulf Monarchies Manage Education Reform
Source: Brookings Institution
With the onset of the Arab uprisings, Gulf monarchies face increased pressure on their traditional ruling balance. Gulf Arab oil monarchies have traditionally been resistant to political reform, and their reaction to the Arab spring has largely followed suit. To focus solely on political liberalization, however, is to ignore ambitious societal and bureaucratic reforms that have been launched in recent years. In many ways, the processes and pressures involved in reforming the state’s “soft institutions” – whether due to pressure from political elites, citizens, or the international community – offer important lessons for broader institutional reform in these cautiously liberalizing monarchies.
This paper focuses on one of such institution—the educational sector—and analyzes the extent to which reform in that sphere can provide models for wider liberalization. Education reform in the Gulf is a politically charged and socially sensitive endeavour with potential winners and losers among various co-opted groups. Looking at the experiences of three Gulf states—Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates—the study seeks to consider how successful these monarchies have been in transitioning from highly centralized and rigid bureaucracies to more responsive, innovative, and dynamic systems.
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United Arab Emirates: 2011 Article IV Consultation—Staff Report; Staff Supplement; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion
United Arab Emirates: 2011 Article IV Consultation—Staff Report; Staff Supplement; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion (PDF)
Source: International Monetary Fund
Economic prospects. Nonhydrocarbon GDP growth is projected to increase from 2.1 percent in 2010 to 3.3 percent in 2011, led by strong tourism, logistics, and trade in Dubai; and large public investment spending in Abu Dhabi. Nevertheless, the real estate overhang and short- term refinancing needs from overleveraged Government-Related Entities (GREs) weigh on the near-term outlook. Despite higher international food prices, the CPI inflation rate is expected to remain moderate at 4.5 percent, as rents continue to decline.
Risks to the outlook. The unfolding turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa poses downside risks. The re-pricing of risk in the region could result in more difficult financial market conditions. On the positive side, there are indications that the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) may benefit from increased tourism and investments looking for diversification within the region. Higher oil prices are also benefiting the U.A.E. as a hydrocarbon exporter, though if sustained, they may affect the recovery if demand from Asia falls.
Supporting the recovery in the short term. Given the still fragile economic recovery, macroeconomic policies in 2011 should support domestic demand and respond to potential economic spillovers from the unfolding events in the region. The government should adopt a neutral fiscal stance in 2011, and expand spending in case the regional unrest starts affecting the economy. The central bank should be prepared to provide liquidity if the re-pricing of risk in the region were to trigger a reversal of the recent bank deposit inflows.
Mitigating the risks posed by quasi-sovereign entities. GREs have contributed significantly to U.A.E.’s economic growth. Nevertheless, the recent bailouts, the size of Dubai’s GRE debt, and the significant short- and medium-term roll-over needs call for containing the risks posed by these entities. This entails better governance, as well as assessing, monitoring, reporting, and disclosing GRE contingent liabilities in government accounts. Containing GRE borrowing is key for fiscal sustainability at the emirate level.
Securing financial stability. The banking sector remains resilient to shocks, thanks to high capital and strong earnings. Although nonperforming loans have doubled since the crisis, banks have increased provisioning. In light of the ongoing restructuring of Dubai GREs, the central bank should continue to ensure that banks provision adequately, monitor the performance of restructured loans, and encourage banks to retain more earnings to handle potential risks in the medium term.
Managing the economy over the cycle. The recent boom-bust underscores the need for strong demand management over the economic cycle. Under a pegged exchange rate regime, this requires mutually-supportive countercyclical fiscal and macroprudential policies; and the federal structure of the U.A.E. makes close coordination between the various governments imperative.
Improving the statistical framework. With data availability underpinning good policy- making, more progress is needed for timely compilation and dissemination of key statistics.
Country Specific Information: United Arab Emirates
Source: U.S. Department of State
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates, each with its own ruler. The federal government is a constitutional republic, headed by a president and council of ministers. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the foundation of the country’s conservative customs, laws, and practices. The UAE has a modern and generally well-developed infrastructure, and tourist facilities are widely available. Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on the United Arab Emirates for additional information.
Background Note: United Arab Emirates
Source: U.S. Department of State
The United States has enjoyed friendly relations with the U.A.E. since 1971. Private commercial ties, especially in petroleum (the U.A.E. is the only GCC state to allow private-sector participation in its oil and gas sector), have developed into friendly government-to-government ties, which include security cooperation. The U.A.E. is the United States’ single largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa region, with $14.4 billion in exports in 2008 and more than 750 U.S. firms operating locally. There are nearly 50 weekly non-stop flights to the U.A.E. from six U.S. cities. U.A.E. ports host more U.S. Navy ships than any port outside the U.S. The United States was the third country to establish formal diplomatic relations with the U.A.E. and has had an ambassador resident in the U.A.E. since 1974.