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The New Levant Economic Initiative

Status: Completed
  • Lead Organization

    The World Bank



    The European Union (EU), the United States, and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). Also, IPEMED (Economic Foresight Institute for the Mediterranean Region); KNOMAD (Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development); Tunisia School of Business; Mediterranean School of Business; local business unions and think tanks; trade ministries in the region with a trade and integration strategy, such as Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, and Libya with the World Trade Organization (WTO).



    • The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is among the least integrated region in the world, regionally and globally.
    • The MENA region suffers from a lack of private investment and high unemployment rates, including among the young educated people.


    Program Objective

    The objective of this work is to identify the areas of economic complementarities among the New Levant countries, and assess untapped potentials in investment and trade in goods and services.


    Selected Results (Planned)

    Deepened knowledge: A component of the integration of MENA, the New Levant Initiative organized a regional conference on economic integration on June 12, 2014, in Beirut. This conference served as platform to launch the World Bank’s regional economic integration report, Over the Horizon: A New Levant, and led to a discussion between public- and private-sector representatives on the potential for, and barriers to, deeper regional integration in goods and services trade with a focus on the financial sector, energy, transport, tourism, and ICT. The research team also participated in the Maghreb Forum of Entrepreneurs. 








    Sibel Kulaksiz, Senior Economist, World Bank