Future Challenges for the Arab World

The Implications of Demographic and Economic Trends

by Keith Crane, Steven Simon, Jeffrey Martini

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Abstract

This report assesses likely demographic and economic trends in the Arab world through 2020, focusing on changes that are likely to affect U.S. defense planning and U.S. policy in the region. The report assesses how long-term trends in demographic changes and the economies in this region are likely to affect U.S. interests. The report explores population shifts and economic changes in both energy-rich and energy-poor countries. Implications for U.S. policy from this report include slower population growth easing pressures on natural resources and public services and U.S. support for such programs as family planning and female education encouraging trends toward lower fertility rates. More-relaxed U.S. and European immigration and visa policies toward the citizens of the Middle East can enhance political and community ties between Arabs and the West. The United States, through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, should encourage economic liberalization and free trade within the region.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Population Growth in the Arab World: The Pressure of People

  • Chapter Three

    The Energy Rich: A Second Chance

  • Chapter Four

    The Energy Poor: Prospects for Economic Growth

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions and Implications for U.S. Policymakers

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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