The banking and financial markets in the Arab Region are one of the fastest growing worldwide. More than 330 Arab banking and financial institutions operate in the Arab region today, with total banking assets amounting to 134% of GDP, or USD 3.3 trillion, total deposits accounting for more than USD 2 trillion and total loans reaching USD 1.8 trillion by the end of 2016.
Domestic credit to private sector by banks, percentage of GDP Libya - 2011
Domestic credit to private sector by banks, percentage of GDP Tunisia - 2016
Domestic credit to private sector by banks, percentage of GDP Sudan - 2016
By 2016, the Arab region was home to 406.4 million inhabitants representing 5.4% of the world’s population and growing by 2% in 2016. The two most populous countries in the region are Egypt (93.7 million) and Sudan (38.6 million), while the population in Comoros and Djibouti is less than one million in 2015.
The Arab region has registered a remarkable trend of growing gains in educational attainment and more equitable access to formal education since the beginning of the millennium, with impressive progress towards gender parity across all stages of education. Gross primary enrolment reached 100% in 2015, up from 89.8% in 1999 and gross tertiary enrollment increased by 72.2% between 1999 and 2015. Adult literacy rate also increased by 28.9% between 1999 and 2015.
Expenditure per student, primary, percentage of GDP per capita United Arab Emirates - 1998
Expenditure per student, primary, percentage of GDP per capita Mauritania - 2013
Teachers, secondary, percentage of female Oman - 2003
The Arab region is one of the world’s richest regions in terms of oil and natural gas resources. According to recent estimates, 42% of the world proven oil reserves and 29% of the world’s proven natural gas reserves are located in the Arab region. Electricity production in the region relies heavily on conventional fuel sources, with a production amounting to 1,050 TWh in 2014, of which only 40 TWh were produced using renewable sources. The electrification rate in 15 Arab countries was above the World average of 85 percent in 2012, with 6 countries reaching 100 percent electrification rate.
The Arab region comprises one of the largest deserts in the world making up around 18% of the total surface area of the Arab region. The region is characterized by an arid and semi-arid climate. The rapidly growing population and high urbanization rates exert increasing pressures on the available natural resources.
Proportion of water abstracted, agriculture Palestine - 2005
Proportion of population connected to wastewater treatment Jordan - 2006
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water Kuwait - 2015
By 2016, women made up 48.2% of the total Arab population and 21.7% of the total labor force in the region. With significant improvements made in health and education over the last 15 years, gender-based disparities continue in the labor markets and the political space remains the most challenging for women.
Seats held by women in national parliaments Iraq - 2010
Seats held by women in national parliaments Kuwait - 2016
Women in ministerial level positions Morocco - 2014
The Arab region has made a clear progress in a number of health and health-related outcomes. The average life expectancy increased from 58.5 years in 1980 to 71 years in 2015. Child mortality has significantly decreased from an average of 131.9 per 1000 live births in 1980 to 36.8 per 1000 in 2015.
Smoking prevalence among adults, percent of adults, female Lebanon - 2012
Polio 3 vaccination coverage, percent of one-year-old children Mauritania - 2015
Population with access to primary health facilities Jordan - 2014
The Arab countries share common labor market features and challenges. The labor force participation rate in the region is the lowest worldwide at 49.8% in 2016, with highest rates observed in the GCC countries. The unemployment rate in the Arab region remains one of the highest in the world registering 11.4% in 2016 compared to 5.8% worldwide. This rate is especially high among youth at 28.4% in 2016.
Unemployment rate by education, undefined education level Lebanon - 2009
Vulnerable employment, percentage of total employment Palestine - 2017
Employment distribution by sector, joint United Arab Emirates - 2016
Macroeconomic performance tends to diverge across the Arab countries between major oil and natural gas exporting countries and other countries in the region, such as those plagued by protracted crises. For the Arab region, as a whole, the GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) leveled at Int$ 6,298 billion in 2015, constituting 5.6% of the world’s GDP.
Goods and services expenses, percentage of total expenditures Algeria - 2011
Taxes on goods and services, percentage of total revenues Tunisia - 2012
The Arab region witnessed an improvement in its Human Development Index (HDI), from 0.613 in 2000 to 0.687 in 2015, but it remained below the world average of 0.717. Despite this positive overall trend in human development, poverty remains one of the paramount challenges and major impediments to inclusive development in the region, and that’s why “Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere” was considered a top priority in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Poverty headcount ratio at $3.20 a day, 2011 PPP, as a percentage of the population Jordan - 2010
Income share held by third 20% Palestine - 2011
Poverty gap at national poverty line, urban Palestine - 2011
Arab countries’ total share of world exports has doubled since 2000, reaching 7% in 2013. Fuel exports, representing the vast majority of exports in the oil-producing countries, amounted to 73.3% of the region’s merchandise in 2015. When excluding fuel, the Arab region’s non-oil exports made up 2% of the world exports in 2013 up from 1% in 2000.
Trade, percentage of GDP Yemen - 2016
Agricultural raw materials exports, percentage of merchandise exports Bahrain - 2016
Travel services, percentage of commercial service imports Sudan - 2016
In most Arab countries, water has become a critical natural resource. Most countries in the region are classified as arid or semiarid or, receiving less than 250 mm of rainfall annually. Renewable water resources per inhabitant reached 650 m3 in 2014, compared to a world average of about 6,000 m3 per inhabitant, placing 13 out of 22 Arab countries in the category of severe water scarcity at less than 500 m3 per capita.
Prevalence of food deprivation, rural Libya - 2014
Cereal import dependency ratio, 3-year average Algeria - 2009
Irrigated agricultural land, percentage of agricultural land Jordan - 2014