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Population and development report

Development policy implications of age-structural transitions in Arab Countries

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This report shows that the Arab countries are currently undergoing profound age-structural transitions which will have significant implications for their development. It argues that countries can best manage and benefit from the consequences of the age structural transitions taking place across the Arab region by adopting a life course approach in analysis and policy. However, social and economic policies in the Arab countries have not succeeded in integrating this approach. This report therefore suggests reforms across social and economic policy areas, including labour market and social protection reforms, and suggests how the post-2015 UN Development Agenda can integrate a life course perspective. It brings a new urgency to the debate, arguing that transformational change is needed to integrate the needs and potentials of the different age groups in the Arab countries.

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Macroeconomic policy implications of age-structural transitions in Arab countries

As discussed in chapter I, the age structure of the Arab region is changing, with an increasing share of the population at working age. This phenomenon has a wide range of macroeconomic implications, and creates challenges in terms of unemployment, income disparity, poverty, public expenditure, migration, human capital creation, and housing. However, with the proper macroeconomic policies, the shift in age structure could generate higher per capita income growth leading to better economic performance and better-functioning markets and institutions. Governments therefore need to consider age-structural factors when developing their economic policies to ensure that they are realistic. Moreover, economic policies also affect the ability of countries to benefit from age-structural transitions. For example, people are more likely to save and invest if there are viable, trustworthy and well-regulated financial institutions. Likewise, a lack of State investment in health and education prevents the formation of human capital that is needed to maximize the benefit of age-structural transitions.

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