The recent revolution in Tunisia demonstrates that the complete stifling of political opposition does not guarantee longevity for authoritarian regimes.
The Tunisian revolution has fulfilled longstanding expectations that the youth bulge in Arab countries would eventually lead to political instability; it also showed that the weakness of opposition movements might be less significant than many observers believe.
If members of former Tunisian President Ben Ali’s regime attempt to use provisions in the country's constitution to retain power, dissatisfaction among opposition members and the Tunisian people could lead to further unrest.
While the departure of President Ben Ali does not necessarily signal a democratic transition, the international community can play a role in creating space for a genuine democracy to take root in Tunisia.
With nearly 1 in 3 Tunisian youth unemployed, the country’s policymakers must develop a strategic vision for growth and create jobs quickly.
Oil-importing countries in the Middle East and North Africa were relatively unharmed by the Great Recession, but in the changing global economy, new policies are needed to ensure that growth remains robust.
With budget deficits on the rise, the Middle East and North Africa’s oil importing countries must reform their fuel subsidy programs, which benefit the rich more than the poor and waste fiscal resources.
The private sector has become the main driver of growth in the Middle East and North Africa, but more consistent and equitable regulations are needed to transform the region into a diversified, high-performance economy.
Tunisian President Benali has been in power for 22 years and he continues to justify stalling political reforms by pointing to the "Islamist threat." Today, there is certainly no chance to have an Islamist party in Tunisia but any democratic reconsideration of the regime is impossible as well.
Non-oil producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa have spent the last decade working to achieve fiscal consolidation. Governments in each of these countries must look beyond the global crisis and make courageous trade-offs to ensure a sustainable future for public finances.