Putting the Citizen at the Heart of ‘Hakama’

As Lao Tse, an ancient Chinese philosopher warned, if one does not change direction one might end up where one is heading. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has begun the difficult process of changing direction, pushed by citizens demanding a greater role in determining their future. The region’s ultimate destination is still far from certain but ongoing reforms to ‘hakama,’ the Arabic for ‘governance,’ will be critical for setting the new course.

The winds of change from the Arab Spring also blew all the way to Washington, where the World Bank Group recognized the critical importance of open and inclusive governance in meeting popular demands and achieving the goals of poverty reduction and shared prosperity. By making governance a core pillar of a new engagement framework, the Bank has actively supported the current transitions and policy reforms aimed at increasing transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement.

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