Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How the Right Strategy Can Oil the Wheels of Prosperity

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How the Right Strategy Can Oil the Wheels of Prosperity

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Dean LETTER FROM DUBAI

RESOURCE curse; the paradox of plenty; Dutch Disease. Economists have no shortage of names to describe the enigma, whereby countries swimming in oil have rubbish economies and poor citizens. They have fewer solutions.

The latest contribution is the 2009 Arab Human Development Report, published this week by the United Nations. The authors agree that oil has done much harm and only limited good for people in the region.

"The fabled oil wealth of the Arab countries presents a misleading picture of their economic situation," says Walid Khadduri, one of the authors. Oil, he says, "masks the structural weaknesses of many Arab economies".

Some numbers: Arab unemployment is the highest in the world at 14%. Arab countries were less industrialised in 2007 than in 1970. Some 12% of babies in the Arab world are born underweight, double the figure for East Asia.

The report urges economic reform: cutting back state handouts and replacing them with education and investment programmes to build long-term prosperity. …

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