Economic Freedom of the Arab World: 2018 Annual Report
Wherever true economic freedom takes root, it creates opportunity for all by eliminating obstacles to success. Economic freedom is simply the ability of individuals and families to make their own economic decisions and take advantage of opportunities and entrepreneurship, free of barriers imposed by overly powerful governments or greedy elites to protect their own dominance, whether foreign or domestic. All too often in the Arab world the less privileged and the excluded are deprived from finding meaningful employment or building new and creative businesses by onerous bureaucracy, red tape, restrictive regulations, complicated rules, corruption, and an uneven rule of law–all obstacles to economic freedom.
Increased economic freedom removes these barriers to create opportunity for all. It is the solution that will unleash the drive and ingenuity of the whole population and power Arab nations into a new era of prosperity and opportunity. This is a necessity for even resource-rich states as they move to diversify. To do this and achieve a broad participation of their population in economic activity, they must open the gates to opportunity for all.
Expanding economic freedom would also combat corruption. If the road to opportunity is open, no one can demand a bribe for entrance to that road. The Arab Spring was triggered by economic as much as by political reasons. The demonstrations across the Arab world were fueled especially by frustrated youth unable to find suitable employment or launch their own enterprises. The privileged and powerful have the connections and influence to navigate the complicated seas of red tape and favoritism to establish their own businesses and land the best jobs. But, if these opportunities were open to all, an economic miracle would unfold in the Arab World.