Giving Compass’ Take:
• Brookings takes a close look at the Arab Spring eight years later to assess whether it was a “black swan” event and look at how it has affected the region as a whole.
• With the benefit of hindsight, how do we rationalize the events that shake the world? And what can development organizations learn from a region that has been so politically volatile?
To the Lebanese-American author Nassim Taleb almost all major discoveries and historical events are “black swans.” These very rare, extremely impactful events initially come as a surprise, but once they occur, they are often inappropriately rationalized with the benefit of hindsight …
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, deep regional, ethnic, and sectarian divisions in countries without well-developed governance institutions for power sharing and fair dispute resolution set the stage for intense political violence. The ongoing wars remind us that the Arab Spring has drastically changed the Middle East and North Africa. In the countries where stability has returned, the Arab Spring is felt through reforms undertaken to improve the fiscal situation and address the structural issues that led to the economic decline in the first place. Promoting private-sector development and economic inclusion is a top priority for governments across the region.
Yet, it is important not to forget that improving transparency, accountability, and the voice of the public is also crucial. Repressing voice to achieve stability could set the stage for another black swan in the Middle East and North Africa.
Read the full article about looking back at the Arab Spring as a black swan event by Elena Ianchovichina at Brookings.
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