Social Media’s giant platforms current impact on the MENA’s youth

Social Media’s giant platforms current impact on the MENA’s youth

A review-analysis of the Social Media’s giant platforms current impact on the MENA’s youth by Damian Radcliffe and Payton Bruni was posted on Journalism.co.uk yesterday 15 April 2019.

The most recent manifestation of their widespread use could be assessed as resulting in amongst many things, the calm and easy dethroning of two of North Africa’s long-endured head of states. Their current and discrete assignments appear to be concerned with the complete disposal of the out-dated support systems. One thing is sure in that without these Social Media’s deep penetrations in the region, none of this youthful regeneration could be obtained or at least at such low price.

What is the most popular channel in Saudi Arabia and how many young people still use Facebook? Here are some key facts about one of the most youthful regions on the planet

Social media in the Middle East: five trends journalists need to know about

By: Damian Radcliffe and Payton Bruni

darcey-beau-1265447-unsplash.jpg

Credit: Photo by Darcey Beau on Unsplash

This article is authored by Damian Radcliffe, the Carolyn S. Chambers professor of journalism at the University of Oregon and Payton Bruni, a journalism student at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, who is also minoring in Arabic Studies.

The Middle East is a large, diverse, region. The fact that one-third of the population is below the age of 15 years, and a further one in five of the population is aged 15-24 years old, means that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of the most youthful regions on the planet.

Since the Arab Spring, there has been increased interest in the role that media, and in particular social media, plays in the region. Our recent report, State of Social Media, Middle East: 2018 explored this topic in depth. Here we outline the implications our research has for journalists.

News consumption for Arab youth is social media-led

“Like their peers in the West, young Arabs today are digital natives,” said Sunil John, founder and CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, which produces the annual Arab youth survey.

“Young Arabs are now getting their news first on social media, not television. This year, our survey reveals almost two thirds (63 per cent) of young Arabs say they look first to Facebook and Twitter for news. Three years ago, that was just a quarter.”

YouTube is huge. And growing

The number of YouTube channels in MENA has risen by 160 per cent in the past three years. More than 200 YouTube channels in the region have over one million subscribers. Over 30,000 channels have more than 10,000 subscribers.

In 2017, the 16 nation Arab youth survey also reported that YouTube is viewed daily by half of young Arabs.

To encourage further growth of the network, Google opened a YouTube Space at Dubai’s Studio City in March 2018, the tenth such hub to be opened by YouTube around the globe.

According to Arabian Business, content creators with more than 10,000 YouTube subscribers enjoy “free access to audio, visual and editing equipment, as well as training programmes, workshops and courses. Those with more than 1,000 subscribers will have access to workshops and events hosted at the space.”

In most countries, Facebook has yet to falter

The social network now has 164 million active monthly users in the Arab world. This is up from 56 million Facebook users just five years earlier.

Interestingly, in contrast to many other markets, 61 per cent of Arab youth say they use Facebook more frequently than a year ago, suggesting the network is still growing.

Egypt, the most populous nation in the region with a population of over 100 million, remains the biggest national market for Facebook in the region, with 24 million daily users and nearly 37 million monthly mobile users.

Saudi Arabia is a social media pioneer

“In 2018, YouTube upstaged long-time leader Facebook to become the most popular social media platform in Saudi Arabia,” reported Global Media Insight, a Dubai based digital interactive agency.

Data shared by the agency showed YouTube has 23.62 million active users, in the country, with Facebook coming in second with 21.95 million users.

Alongside this, although there are about 12 million daily users of Snapchat in the Gulf region (an area comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman) a staggering 9 million of these are in Saudi Arabia (compared to 1 million in UAE).

A complicated relationship with platforms

Despite YouTube’s wide popularity in the MENA region, the company faced some pushback in the past year, after the network was accused of removing online evidence of Syrian chemical attacks.

Meanwhile, YouTube suspended accounts belonging to Syria’s public international news organisation (SANA,) the Ministry of Defence, and the Syrian Presidency “after a report claimed the channels were violating US sanctions and generating revenue from ads,” Al Jazeera reported.

More generally, social networks have a complicated relationship with the region, with service blocks, or the banning of certain features (such as video calling) being relatively common place, and both news organisations and individuals, can fall foul of greater levels of government oversight.

Derogatory posts have resulted in deportations of residents from UAE, while in 2018, the Egyptian government passed legislation categorising social media accounts with more than 5,000 followers as media outlets, thereby exposing them to monitoring by the authorities.

To find out more, download the full study State of Social Media, Middle East: 2018 from the University of Oregon Scholars’ Bank, or view it online via ScribdSlideShareResearchGate and Academia.Edu.

Advertisements
Dr. Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director of Qatar National Library

Dr. Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director of Qatar National Library

Dr. Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director of Qatar National Library, has more than 40 years of international library and university management experience in the Middle East and the US, and has practiced and taught librarianship in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the US.

Meet Dr. Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director of Qatar National Library

By: Dina Al-Mahdy on April 13, 2019

42266819_2088544787951887_6347198031187673088_n


Prior to her new role, Dr. Wastawy worked as Dean of Libraries at Florida Institute of Technology. She held the position of Dean of University Libraries at Illinois State University, and was the first Chief Librarian for the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. Dr. Wastawy also served as Dean at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

As well as her work in library management, Dr. Wastawy has worked as a consultant to many not-for-profit organizations, corporations, and accreditation commissions, and has been the recipient of international awards, including a Peace Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship.

Dr. Wastawy began her library career at Cairo University Library, Egypt, and taught librarianship in the first women’s library program in Saudi Arabia. She holds a Doctor of Arts in Library and Information Management from Simmons College, Boston, MA; and a Masters in Library and Information Science from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

42094466_539469949828272_891299881077964800_n
  1. Having an extensive international library experience in the US and the Middle East, we would like to know more about you, since the beginning of your distinguished career till now?And how did you come to leave Egypt and become an American citizen?

I hadn’t originally planned to study library science, and I later discovered that many who joined the profession had stumbled on it from different backgrounds.

Earlier, I majored in comparative linguistics, and I began with a BA degree in Semitic languages (Hebrew and Aramaic) from Cairo University then pursued an MA degree in African languages followed by a PhD in comparative linguistics at Cairo University. Before I could complete my PhD, however, my advisor Dr. Mourad Kamel, unfortunately, passed away. Because I was dealing with 6 languages as part of my thesis, it was difficult to work with any other advisor. At that time, I was working at the university library as a temporary job until I finished my PhD. Once I knew I wasn’t going to finish, I decided to stay on as a librarian and take up librarianship as a profession. However, I didn’t want to go into a profession without formally studying it.

After the Camp David Accords in 1978, the US was offering peace fellowships to a few Israeli and Egyptian students to pursue postgraduate studies in the US. I learned about this by walking past the AMIDEAST building in Cairo where I spot a big sign that read “Scholarships in the US”, so, I applied. Then, I didn’t know that in the US, unlike in Egypt, you could pursue a post graduate degree in a field other than your major. Knowing that I could choose any field of study, I shifted my career to library and information sciences.

After I completed my master degree, I was accepted in the second top program in the US: a private women school called Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, where I completed my PhD studies in 1987. After my PhD, I came back to Egypt and stayed for eight months, during which I met my then-husband. I eventually moved back to the US with him I started my career in the US as a part-time research librarian at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and I have been practicing librarianship since then.

  1. As a woman pursing her career and a working mother, what are/were the major obstacles and challenges that you had to face in your life and career?

Since 1988, my job has always been about building and managing libraries. I managed the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) main library with its 5 branches for 14 years, before I was appointed as chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, which also required building the library sector services and collections. After my tenure in Alexandria, I held the position of dean of university libraries at Illinois State University followed by similar position at Florida Institute of Technology.

Being a working mother is a difficult task; juggling between family and work is often relentless. It is also a delicate balancing act, especially when you are away from family and friends. I didn’t have the kind of support system that comes with living in your home country. You have to be extremely organized and very judicious with your time. In general, the responsibility of being a manager is challenging as you often don’t operate with fixed hours. It is all about getting the job done. If the job takes 10 hours or 15 hours, you owe that much time. Creating a balance between family and work requires super organizational skills. You have to organize activities for the kids and you have to share tasks with your partner.

42144611_1735914909868186_5437128717824425984_n
  1. Did you find any cultural gaps between women’s role in society in the Middle East and the US?

Gender discrimination exists in most societies. The US has given me opportunities and leadership skills, and I was for the most part, treated equally and was selected on the basis of merit. When I got my first position as a dean, I was 37 years old. I was also the first female dean IIT since it was established in 1890. I was a woman with an accent; different in completion and background which made some people regard me with suspicion. When I attended a meeting with a number of male deans, my proposed ideas fell on deaf ears. When the other male deans reiterated what I said, their ideas were met with “Oh, wow! That is quite wonderful”. I took issue with this and long before equal pay became a big thing in the US, I told my president that I was no less intelligent than these men, and I demanded to be paid as much as the other deans.

I must say that in Egypt, women have assumed leadership positions in governmental and national institutions, but we still have not seen many women judges or some other high-ranking professions. We still have quite a journey ahead of us.

  1. Being an effective manager who has a broad repertoire of management styles, can you tell us more about the styles you used throughout your career with your employees all over the world? And how did you develop them?

There is no single management style that fits all. It is situational. You maintain certain values for equality, fairness, objectivity, and professionalism. You honor these core values, but remain flexible in how you execute them. In general, management techniques are not magic mantras but simply tools to be reached for at the right times.Some situations require the leader to hover closely; others require long, loose lines.

To be a manager does not merely entail giving orders. Being a leader is about understanding that strategy equals execution and that all the great ideas and visions in the world are worthless if they can’t be implemented in an efficient manner at the right time. As a leader, you delegate and empower others, but you also pay attention to details, every day, never above operational details. In a service profession like librarianship, loyalty to the ethos of the profession of equality and democracy are crucial. On the personal level, you must have a high-energy drive, a balanced ego, and the drive to get things done.

5- As a working mother, how did you raise your son? Has he understood the role you played in the cultural arena? How has that affected his perspective on life?

39235537_290939315048720_4304295767398416384_n

The year my son was born, I was made dean for the first time. Meaning that my son has always seen me throughout his life in leadership roles. He has always been very proud of what I have achieved. He used to brag about me when he was little, telling his friends that I was the president of the university.

Because Kariem has always seen me in leadership positions, this has had both a positive and some unhelpful effect on him. As proud as he was, my son often thought that he has to do everything perfectly in order to get my approval.

Being an immigrant in the US, you are always judged. I didn’t want my son to acquire this trait: judging people or situations prematurely. I tried to instill in him empathy toward people, and I taught him to treat people equally and with respect. Kariem grew up in a post-9/11 America, which was a very hard time for all Arabs. He was bullied by kids at school who told him that all Arabs were terrorists. This was alienating to a child who cannot defend himself, had neither the vocabulary nor the understanding to be able to say that this wasn’t our fault or that these terrorists were different people.

The atmosphere was very difficult and Arab children, like my son, had to struggle through all that because of the name-calling. Some kids told him to go back home, and Kariem used to tell them that this was his home. I tried to help him understand that these children knew little, and to teach him empathy during this time of ignorance. I also taught him not to be defensive and help educate others. Those were some of the values I tried to instill in my son. I am proud to say that he has an amazing sense of empathy, kind, open and have friends of all backgrounds and religions.

42085500_714497398931278_6339849264834805760_n
  1. Reflecting on how your parents raised you, what ideologies do you wish to instill in girls in Egypt to become future leaders in society?

Though my father was born in 1917, he was such a liberal man in his way of thinking. He supported me all the way, and I was the first girl in the family to study abroad. That was not very common then. For a man from a different era, I think it was all a matter of trust, which he tried to foster between him and his 5 children. He always wanted us to believe in what we did. He had such work ethics and was a real patriot. He wanted us to succeed not only for our own sake but also because we owed it to our country.

We were 4 girls and 1 boy, and he urged us to choose whatever we wanted to do with our lives. Two of my sisters are doctors, one is a pharmacist, and my brother is an engineer. His advice was to always be the best at whatever you choose.

Both my parents were teachers who believed in girls’ education and independence. They were like any good parents who give their children wings to fly. That’s why each and every one of us led the life they wanted without being hindered by any limitations. Those are values that I wish all parents instill in girls in Egypt. If they do not acquire them at a young age, they will become more difficult to acquire as adults.

  1. Having contributed to promoting an excellent image of inspiring remarkable Egyptian women and change makers, what advices do you wish to pass on to women of Egypt all over the world?
42158382_315793329247891_5722017149858349056_n

To believe in what they do, have a purpose in life, and to try to make a difference. It doesn’t matter if it is going to be gardening, teaching, a factory worker, a doctor, or engineer. Just try to make a difference. Being a stay home mom, in my opinion, is a tough job. Raising future leaders and good citizens is not for the faint of hearts. Women, who have the ability to give, can volunteer at any institution and receive a sense of accomplishment for being able to give something back to their community—either their time or energy.

Your self-worth and self-esteem rise when you contribute to the welfare of others. It is not about making money or attaining a high position; it is about what you want to be remembered with. No matter what profession you belong to, what is really important is to ask yourself these questions: how can I make any difference in my brief time on earth? If you find answer to such a question, then you will be able to find your path.

  1. What are your future plans on both the professional and personal levels?

On the personal level, I am very much looking forward to retirement. I want to pursue hobbies that didn’t have time for when younger. I like to write, and I have been writing a collection of short stories for over 25 years now that I would like to finish. I would also like to take digital photography, gardening, creative writing and ballroom dancing classes. I also plan to volunteer with Doctors Without Borders and other humanitarian organizations that help in the relief of human suffering.

***If you liked this article, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and receive our articles by email.  

UAE tops MENA for wage equality, but . . .

UAE tops MENA for wage equality, but . . .

GULF BUSINESS Economy posted this enlightening article by Aarti Nagraj on how It will take the MENA economies “153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change”

UAE tops MENA for wage equality, Arab region remains world’s least gender-equal

The UAE has been ranked as the top country in the Middle East and North Africa for wage equality, according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

However, the UAE’s performance on the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018’s wage equality indicator saw a slight decrease compared to last year, a statement said.

The Emirates also topped the region in terms of the number of women in ministerial positions, with improvements recorded in gender parity in the legislators, senior officials and managers and healthy life expectancy indicators.

Overall, the report found that despite the gender gap across the MENA region closing narrowly in 2018, it remains the world’s least gender-equal region.

It will take the Middle East and North Africa economies “153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change”, the report stated.

While Tunisia topped the region for gender equality – ranking 119 globally, the UAE ranked 121 with the gender gap closed at 64.2 per cent. Saudi Arabia, ranked 141 with a 59 per cent gender gap rate, showed “modest progress”, with improvement in wage equality and women’s labour force participation, the report stated.

Globally, the report found that the global gender gap only slightly reduced in 2018, as stagnation in the proportion of women in the workplace and women’s declining representation in politics, along with greater inequality in access to health and education, offset improvements in wage equality and the number of women in professional positions.

According to the report, the world has closed 68 per cent of its gender gap, as measured across four key pillars: economic opportunity; political empowerment; educational attainment; and health and survival.

Last year was the first since the report began publishing in 2006 that the gap between men and women widened.

At the current rate of change, the report indicated that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to bring about parity in the workplace.

Globally, having closed more than 85.8 per cent of its overall gender gap, Iceland topped the list for the 10th consecutive year. It was followed by Norway, Sweden, Finland and Nicaragua.

“The economies that will succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be those that are best able to harness all their available talent,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.

“Proactive measures that support gender parity and social inclusion and address historical imbalances are therefore essential for the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a whole.”

The report also found that while the income gap between men and women has become narrower, fewer women are participating in the workforce.

“This a worrisome development for which there are a number of potential reasons,” the report said.

“One is that automation is having a disproportionate impact on roles traditionally performed by women. At the same time, women are under-represented in growing areas of employment that require STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and knowledge. Another potential reason is that the infrastructure needed to help women enter or re-enter the workforce – such as childcare and eldercare – is under-developed and unpaid work remains primarily the responsibility of women,” the report explained.

“The corollary is that the substantial investments made by many economies to close the education gap are failing to generate optimal returns in the form of growth.”

According to Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society and member of the WEF managing board, industries must “proactively hardwire gender parity in the future of work through effective training, reskilling and upskilling interventions and tangible job transition pathways”.

“It’s in their long-term interest because diverse businesses perform better,” she added. e-height:norm

Current difficulties of life in the Gulf countries

Current difficulties of life in the Gulf countries

Those coming to the UAE for work not as tourists, students or dependents of workers, whether non-national or foreign persons are as of February 4th, 2018 required to obtain a good conduct and behaviour certificate from their own country to be incorporated in their application to receive an entry visa. It is notoriously known throughout the Gulf countries that this new step meant per the preceding official announcement to improve security but is intended to somehow reduce the overwhelming numbers of expatriate workers. These, in the UAE, number more than 4.5 million persons. The current difficulties of life in the Gulf countries is not concerned about how to enter a country but rather on how to stay on.

In effect, the above is one item of a long list that is increasingly lengthened by all these newly adopted measures related to taxation, money transfer and remittances, etc. difficulties. The other difficulties are all those inherent to the world of business that were prevalent in all these countries.

An article of AMEinfo expatriate workers are lately finding it difficult to remain in place and that they have no other option but pack and go back home.

Kuwait real estate crisis made worse by expats leaving country as ordered

February 5, 2018 4:19 pm

 

 

People are leaving Kuwait, flats are being emptied of their occupants, and that’s the tip of the iceberg for the country’s struggling properties market.

Why is Kuwait’s real estate market, worth 7% by market capitalization after Banks (51%), industrial (12%) and telecom (11%), heading towards a slump?

Expats leaving

Secretary of Kuwait Real Estate Association Qais Al-Ghanem confirmed that the Kuwaiti real estate market is suffering as foreigners leave, reports Al-Rai daily.

He said expats will in June this year increase the rate of departure looking for greener pastures or returning home.

“The recent pressures imposed on expatriates resulted in a large number of vacant flats especially in the investment residential sector,” Ghanem said.

“The Kuwaitization policy, which is aimed at terminating the contracts of expatriates in the public sector and increasing the charges of services offered to them, and the announcement about a new tax system have contributed to the crisis,” reported the daily.

There are more that 2.2 million foreigners living in Kuwait.

He added he is expecting the rents to drop after the decisions concerning expatriates are announced, worsening the state of the real estate sector.

According to Gulf Business, Kuwait’s finance ministry is instructing ministries and government entities to prepare lists of foreign employees to be cut from April 2018 to limit public sector roles to Kuwaitis, quoting Arabic language newspaper Al-Anbaa.

“The government has committed to reducing the number of expat employees in a number of job categories each year to reach a 100% Kuwaiti workforce by 2022

Kuwaiti banks have been informed that Kuwaiti citizens are to take up most of the posts offered at the financial institutions, especially at leadership positions, Kuwait Times sources said.

Further expat squeeze

Kuwaiti MP Safa Al Hashem who is not in favour of foreign expats staying beyond 10 years in the country has proposed a $3,300 fee for expat driving licences

As if not enough, the MP request implies as well an annual renewal fee of $1,657 for each car owned by expats.

Mixed economic reports

Recently, the Kuwait cabinet approved the official FY18/19 budget with expenditure growth of just 0.5%.

A National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) report projects a deficit of 16% of GDP (after the transfer to the Future Generation Fund) based on a $50 price for Kuwaiti crude.

Meanwhile, S&P affirmed Kuwait’s long-term sovereign rating at AA with a stable outlook.

“Project awards reached $1.5bn in January 2018, surpassing 2017’s monthly average of $1.1bn. with awards mostly in the transport, oil, and construction sectors,” said NBK.

BMI Research said Kuwait’s tenuous fiscal position and growing political instability cause headwinds for commercial property investment.

“A modest recovery in property prices and rents over 2018 is unlikely amid further oil production cuts,” BMI said recently.

Hopes ahead

Arab Times published a report saying spending on housing and construction is forecast to trigger hike in the realty demand in Q1 2018.

“It is also predicted that hotels and furnished apartments will flourish, in tandem with execution of government mega projects, namely development of Kuwait International Airport, expanding the Amiri Hospital, constructing Jaber causeway, Al- Jahraa and Jamal Abdulnasser roads, in addition to a number of private projects,” said the daily.

But the local property market has been feeling the strain.

The daily names imbalance in supply and demand, strict credit policies by banks, capitals shifting to stock markets, unsteady oil prices, geopolitical events and increase of construction materials’ prices, as contributing factors.

“Moreover, the sector recent recession was attributed to increase of power, water and fuel rates,” it added.

Young Kuwaiti citizens, who make up 60% of the 1.4 million Kuwaiti population, are the top trade seekers in stock exchanges.

Realty experts, interviewed by Kuwait’s National Agency KUNA, believe that some of the main factors affecting the market are shortage of promoted plots against high demand and rare investment alternatives.

“Rents in the investment and commercial sectors have recently dropped by 10-15%,’ they say.

Al-Ghanim affirmed that the market has remained largely in a lackluster status, with trades not exceeding 7% of the displayed properties.

“Up to 700,000 young Kuwaitis aspire to own a private house, but most of them cannot afford it. Figures by the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) show that there are 100,000 residence applications per year,” said the daily.

“Abulaziz Al-Dghaisheem, chairman of a realty group, believes that auctions have stimulated the market, however geopolitical factors’ negative impact are still noticeable.

Director General of Athra Real Estate Company Maitham Al- Shakhs forecasts revival of the property market this year, amid predicted economic growth.”

Further reading :

The informal economy vs. economic development in Algeria

The informal economy vs. economic development in Algeria

The Maghreb facing of new global issues: the weight of the informal sphere

In a July 28, 2017 interview by FRANCE24 TV, Paris of Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul and in answer to whether the return to a State economy with the recent imposition of import licenses, the Algerian Government by introducing these import licenses for a number of goods and services to limit transfers of currency in this period of fiscal pressures has any meaning. Always concerned by the informal economy vs. economic development in Algeria, Dr A. Mebtoul’s answer was: To avoid misinterpretation, the program of the new Prime Minister is part of the guidance of his Excellency Mr. the President of the Republic. It is not guided by any administrative management style of the 1970s now in 2017 but merely a procedural strategy that cannot be assimilated to the old licenses of import of the 1970s and1980s. According to several official releases from the Algerian Government, taken over by the Agency Press Service, Algeria will comply with international trade rules that include quantitative restrictions when a country of balance of payment is facing some difficult conjecture.

Anyway, the strategic objective of the Government is to review the policy of subsidies and to integrate all capital into the real economy. Without an integration of the informal sphere which goes beyond the simple economic aspect and refers to all geo-strategic schemes from socio-economic mechanisms that assume another governance model without which, this policy may have a limited impact.

The subject was already covered by a study undertaken in December 2013  under my direction was destined to the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI, Paris, France).

The proposed article below is on the same was written by Hakima Kernane and published in the French monthly ARABIES magazine on June 6, 2017 under the titled Algeria: informal sphere, scourge of the economy.

The informal economy, a sizable part of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), has always been considered to be a major obstacle to the development of an all domestic production and economic diversification.

“Trade in the Tote’, which designates the commercial black market activities, is a very well-known expression of the Algerians. In the streets of the capital and elsewhere, vendors offer various products and whether presented on the shelves of stores or on the ground on public spaces, to local residents and passers-by, the black market products find always buyers.

Everything flows: shoes, clothes, food, perfumes and spare parts products, etc… “Informal activities are flooding the market, in the open and to the knowledge of all. Participants in the parallel economy do not think nor care about economic development but “only to make quick and easy gain,” says Lynda, Manager of a cosmetics business.

For economists, the informal market is part of those economic activities that are unregulated by socio-professional, tax and legal standards. It’s an underground economy that escapes the national accounts and the regulation of the State. “The barons of the informal sector are not incorporated into any logic of production. Their activities are untraceable and unfair. The informal economy encourages rapid enrichment,” says Hamid, a business leader.

Port Said Square in Algiers, is the main informal currency exchange central market where the Euro would buy nearly 190 Algerian Dinars (DZD) whereas per the Central Bank, it was at the end of 2016, between 115 and DZD117.  The European single currency is of interests of course to all importers, businessmen or tourists, seeking in the currency black market”, says a salesman.

For its part, Mahjoub Bedda, president of the Finance Commission of the National Assembly believes that the informal market of currencies size is alarming. “It would be between 15 and 20% of the value of imports, corresponding to about $7 billion in 2016”, he said. The generalization of the cash and the absence of modern means of payment tend to amplify the persistence of the scourge. “This market gangrenes the country’s economy” said he emphtically.

Omnipresent in shops, services, building and construction and manufacturing activities, the informal economy represents according to official figures nearly 45% of the GDP, which corresponds to a value of some $125 billion. In the same context, the conclusions of the study conducted by the Office of National statistics (ONS) show that the informal economy employed 1.6 million people in 2001 as compared to 3.9 million in 2012.

These numbers consist of 45.6% of the total non-farm workforce, including 45.3% in trade and services, 37% in the building and public works sector and 17% in manufacturing.

Also, in December 2013, according to the above mentioned study for the Institute of International relations (IFRI), the informal sphere controlled more than $ 55 billion in 2012.

To enable the eradication of informal economic activities, the Government has implemented two key measures: the obligation of the use of cheques in commercial transactions for an amount greater than DZD1 million, from 2014, and permission to deposit money in banks without prosecution, subject to flat tax and that it comes not unlawful actions in 2015.

According to experts, there are two forms of informal activities: that of producing and that other of marketing. “There is a case of differentiating the informal productive sector, which creates value, from that of the speculative market sector, which is based on transfer of values”, says economist A. Mebtoul in a column published in the press.

To reorganize the market, Governments have implemented new features:

  • Dismantling of informal markets,
  • Strengthening of commercial infrastructure and
  • Easing of the requirements for trade registering.

“The period 2016-2020 will certainly be characterized by economic and social adjustments”, explained A. Mebtoul.

So, close to the ground, operations such as the following are being pursued.

Data collection

This is to determine all relevant details of all informal markets and allow the public authorities to establish appropriate strategies of containment and / or elimination.

Restructuring of the markets

Launched by the authorities four years ago, all informal market sectors reincorporation / recuperation is still ongoing.

What are the most appropriate measures to reorganize and legalize the activities of the underground economy?

This calls for the lifting of the barriers to investment and the implementation of public policies with better economic prospects.

Fiscal pressure

According to a study by the Organization for cooperation and development (OECD), tax can have an impact on growth generally. According to many experts, the fight against the informal market is not easy to implement. Globally, the fight against tax fraud is one of the priorities of Governments. To achieve this, the OECD countries have implemented a strategy that is to strengthen the legislative framework, to reorganize the administration and grow the collaboration and coordination of data exchange between State institutions. Thus, it is important to note that an effective fight against the informal economy, which represents a shortfall in important for the Treasury, the social security and the pension system, also requires the involvement of all stakeholders, including civil society.

These are the World’s Most Liveable Cities

These are the World’s Most Liveable Cities

According to the WEF’s ‘ These are the world’s most liveable cities ’ in this order: Auckland, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Melbourne, Stockholm, Sydney, Vancouver, Vienna, Zurich.

The article goes on:

There are some cities you visit and wish you could move there tomorrow, because the quality of life on offer seems so appealing.

Whether it’s down to lots of easily accessible amenities and open space, low levels of traffic and pollution or plenty of opportunities for enjoying a life outside of work, everybody values particular aspects of urban life in different ways.

As such, the idea of ‘liveability’ is a contested one and will differ wildly in the eyes of different groups of people: young students, families, expats and the elderly – to name just a few. It’s given rise to numerous indices – in fact there are now more indices covering the issue of liveability than any other area, and each varies significantly depending on the author and audience . . .

In another article of the WEF, titled ‘These are the most dynamic cities in the world – and they’re not the ones you’d expect’   it was about which world cities are the most dynamic and it was found that the ones that are, have adopted such fundamental keys as :

  • Innovation and technology,
  • Environment and housing,
  • Short-term versus long-term momentum.

It is to be noted that from all cities of the MENA region, only Dubai figures at 11th, in the proposed illustration of the ranking of the most Dynamic Cities world map.

Image: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

These are the 10 most magnetic cities in the world

By Rosamond Hutt, Formative Content

We often think of ‘magnetism’ as a human quality, as well as a physical phenomenon. Cities also have the power to draw people to them.

The Global Power City Index (GPCI) ranks the world’s most important cities according to their ‘magnetism’, that is, their perceived power to attract creative people and businesses from across the globe, and to “mobilize their assets” to boost economic, social and environmental development.

The Index, compiled by Japan’s Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of 42 global cities based on six criteria: economy; research and development; cultural interaction; livability; environment; and accessibility.

Which cities come out on top?

In the 2016 report (the first GPCI was released in 2008), London kept its No.1 spot for the fifth year running, despite a slight drop in its overall score. Ratings in the ‘economy’ category fell, but the UK capital was strong on ‘cultural interaction’, with an increase in the number of overseas visitors and students.

The report notes that data was gathered before the June 2016 Brexit vote. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of foreign visitors to the UK increased by 3% in 2016, and in the three months to December this figure was 6% higher than the same three months in 2015. The plunge in the value of the pound following the referendum result has given London a tourism boost, but the long-term effects of Brexit remain unclear.

New York maintained its second place on the GPCI, also for the fifth year in a row. NYC turned in another set of strong results in the categories of ‘economy’, ‘research and development’ and ‘cultural interaction’.

Image: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Tokyo leapfrogged Paris to move into the top three for the first time, having been fourth for the past eight years. Its improved ratings were due to a number of factors, the 2016 report says, including a cut in Japan’s corporation tax rate, a rise in the number of visitors from abroad and more direct flight connections to overseas destinations. Tokyo’s ‘livability’ score also received a boost from lower housing and general living costs (in US dollar terms).

Paris’s lower ‘cultural interaction’ ratings were due to a fall in the number of overseas visitors, international students and foreign residents. The report says the November 2015 terrorist attacks are likely to have had an impact on these figures.

Singapore held onto fifth place, despite experiencing a decrease in its overall ratings because of slowing GDP growth and a decline in total employment.

Two more Asian cities, Seoul and Hong Kong, were ranked sixth and seventh, while three European capitals — Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna — rounded off the top 10.