Middle East region shows best performance in 40 years

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AERC International Conference

City Reporter

Karachi—On the second day of AERC’s International Conference, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Dean and Director IBA Karachi, delivered the Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Lecture at the AERC Conference “Transforming Economic Development: Policies and Strategies”. His lecture was entitled “Human Development in the Middle East Region: Past and Future.” The conference was organized by the Applied Economics Research Center (AERC), Karachi University.
Dr. Farrukh Iqbal (Keynote Speaker), Mr. Shakil Ramay- Senior Research Associate SDPI (panelist) and the moderator, Dr. Shahid Kardar (Vice Chancellor, Beaconhouse National University & former Governor State Bank) commenced the session. With an impressive portfolio of more than thirty years of experience in research and management at the World Bank, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal shared his research about human development indicators in the MENA region, consisting of Middle Eastern and North African countries.
Dr. Iqbal presented data on the comparative performance of different developing country regions in the areas of child mortality and schooling attainment. He showed that the Middle East region had performed the best among all regions over the past four decades from 1970 to 2010. He said that such stellar performance completely belied the public image of the region as being mired in conflict and conservatism with poor outcomes in health and education. He asked why the public image was at such variance with the empirical record.
He explained that the poor public image was largely a consequence of focusing on levels of child mortality and schooling attainment. In terms of levels, the region was still behind some other developing country regions, such as East Asia and Latin America.