Feature Article

The interplay between democracy, politics and energy in the MENA region

Posted: 2012-08-23

The Middle East North Africa (MENA) region is experiencing a shift in its political and social landscape as citizens throughout the region are mobilizing for greater dignity and freedom. This political awakening is a response to the decades-long dominance of systems of economic and political exclusion, which have stalled economic progress, created enormous wealth distribution gaps, endemic corruption, high unemployment and soaring inflation. The popular rage relates not least to the way the considerable resource wealth of the region is managed.

For the ONS Summit 2012 to be held 28-31 August, this year on the theme "confronting energy paradoxes", the ONS Foundation approached International IDEA as an organization specializing in democracy and operating in the West Asia and North Africa region to write a study entitled An energy-rich region of increasingly energized citizens - the interplay between democracy, politics and energy in the shadow of political upheaval in the MENA region.

International IDEA’s Secretary-General Vidar Helgesen will present the finding of the study at the ONS Summit, one of them being:

“For the MENA region to be able to meet the challenges it is facing, and to be able to meet growing global demand for energy in a sustainable manner, political and economic reform is essential. There is a unique opportunity for rulers to lead countries into a decisive program of reform from the top, realigning their countries with twenty-first-century governance systems. As evidenced by developments in the recent past: those who fail to lead reform from the top, may end up being brought down by revolution.”

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