The Arab World Today
Arab world refers to the nations that speak Arabic, which add up to twenty five countries. They have an approximate population of three hundred and twenty five million people (Mauch & Pfister 2009). These people are spread across some Asian countries and some North African countries. These nations have their permanent headquarters in Cairo but it was temporarily moved to Tunis due to some disputes. The nationals there mainly profess Islam and apply Shariah law. However, there are few Christians who are Jews. These nations however encounter some social as well as economic problems. This paper seeks to exposes the problems encountered by these nations.
The major social problem that is experienced in the Arab world is poverty. This is especially so in the Middle East. Extreme poverty has been reported in various regions in the Arab world and in some cases absolute poverty. Poverty results to various other implications, which include these hunger problems and malnutrition. This occurs due to food shortages. These shortages are as a result of a chain of events like the water problems so agriculture is not practiced to a large extent. They get most of their food from importing and his makes the cost of living high making most of the poor families not to get enough supplies (Jawad 2009). Another problem is diseases due to lack of enough medical supplies. Even when the medical supplies are available, the rate of poverty makes the people not to access the supply. In places were there is overpopulation as earlier noted there are exposed to attacks that could result from the environmental degradation. Poverty also results to poor housing where people are housed in very bad and congested place. This often results in unhygienic conditions.
There have also been so many cases of children dying as they work in these regions. This has resulted from the parents sending the children to work so as to make money. Mauch & Pfister 2009 asserts that “due to the dangerous conditions that these minorities find themselves in sometimes, accidents happen in the oil mines or in the quarries and this result to their deaths” (p. 45). This has also been aggravated by the law not enforcing the rights of children as strictly as other nations like the United States do. These children then find themselves not protected and as a result, they are exposed to systems where they can easily be abused by being exploited.
Another social problem that is experienced by these nations is overpopulation. Nations such as Egypt are overpopulated and this puts pressure on the public utility. It also slows down the rate of economic growth. Overpopulation cases also lead to environmental problems and are associated with high rates of unemployment (Jawad 2009). This only leads to more and more people living in extreme poverty.
Illiteracy is another social problem also reported in these nations at a very high proportion. Cohen (2009) states that “at least 30% of the population is illiterate and this translates to a figure of more than ninety million people” (p. 67). This is brought about by inaccessibility to learning facilities due to the high poverty level. The poverty level does not allow for the proper establishment of modernized learning institutions in most of these nations. Furthermore the people do not have enough finances to allow them afford education up to the tertiary level. There, however, has been a deliberate effort to increase accessibility to learning institutions and the literacy rate is deemed to rise but the impact of literacy so far has not been felt. Arab countries were also gender biased and the women were not given access to education and this made the literacy level even lower among women but there has been a reported reform.
There have also been cases of the rights of individuals being violated. This is a challenge in these regions due to the minority groups in the region lacking fair representation and as discussed in another section of this paper children have died working and women have been denied rights to access proper education (Jawad 2009).
Problems of insecurity are also reported in high proportions. These are caused by wars that are reported in high proportions as well as political unrest. As earlier noted these are caused by conflicts on such issues as water competition due to the shortage. Other causes of such problems are the political disputes and wars between Islamic movements. An example is the Lebanon war of 2006, which was between Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Jordanian Islamic Action Front (Mauch & Pfister 2009). Such attacks cause internal unrest. Insecurity is further caused by high rates of crime that are reported. Whenever some people are so poor they always try to make ends meet by illegally possessing things that are not theirs. Frustration also in the cases of the young men leads to psychological acts that could harm the lives of others.
Corruption is also reported in most of these nations and this results most people not getting what is rightfully theirs. Often corruption results to injustice to the poor and the less fortunate. People who stand chances of justice are denied the fair chance by the seniors who have a greater say. Corruption cases have also resulted to funds being defrauded and these funds could instead be geared towards national or regional development (Mauch & Pfister 2009).
The Arab world experiences a lot of economic problems. This is well reflected from the fact that most of their social problems as explained above arise from the issue of poverty. These economic problems in the region arise mainly due to the short water supply in the region. This is due to the fact that the main sources of water in this region are jointly shared by Arabic nations and others go beyond this expanse. The main rives in the region are the Nile river, the Jordan River, the Tigris and the Euphrates. More often than not, these have caused major disputes (Mauch & Pfister 2009). This competition of water results to disputes Water problems have further translated to food problems, as Arab nations are not sufficient in food production. This in turn causes these nations to result to food importation. In trying to counter the water shortage, many families use desalinization plants to make the seawater suitable for drinking. However, this is quite expensive and it leads to more and more economic problems. Furthermore, the solution it offers is not permanent.
Another economic problem is lack of industry in the Arabian countries. These countries do not engage in manufacturing or even in exportation. On the contrary, they highly depend on importation. This as is often the case always makes the Gross Domestic Product of these nations very low. When the GDP is low then it goes without saying that the economic growth is very minimal if at all it is not negative. These nations import food as well as chemicals (Mauch & Pfister 2009). All that is used for construction as well as for transport and communication is imported. They also import all the equipment and chemicals for water purification. In short, their economy is maimed due to very high dependence on the western world. This has further been made worse by lack of proper education thus skills that could be needed are not available.
The Arabian world also lacks in investment skills. The shares of their investment are very low compared to the rich potential that these nations have (Jawad 2009). Investment level in these nations is made low by tribal problems and conflicts, which make investors, find the ground as unsafe to invest in. This is the case because no investor will invest where they might loose the entire investment due to destruction. These political differences have also been reported in Palestine Somali, Lebanon and Iraq (Mauch & Pfister 2009). This instability results in lack of investment. Lack of feasibility studies further enhances the low level of investment as well as the rampant corruption that is reported there due to low level management skills.
Low unemployment level is also an economic problem in the nations. There is also reported inflation. Whenever there is inflation in a nation, then the chances of growth in the economy are rampantly felt and this has in these nations resulted to very slow growth. low rates of interest returns are also reported in the region and this in turn makes investors make investments elsewhere and avoid this region. These factors have all geared together to present a major challenge in these regions making this region less and less favorable for economic growth (Mauch & Pfister 2009).
The Arab World thus ought to be more efficient in production as well as manufacturing so as to be able to counter most of the problems that they face. This can be done when they seek to exploit all their potential that lies untapped. They should also purpose to produce and manufacture things other than highly depending on imports. By solving the water disputes and seeking means to stabilize this supply they can be more independent and become better economically. When water supply is stabilized, they then do some agriculture and this will make them more stable. Security should also be enhanced as well as political calm so as to make the region more favorable for investment.
- Cohen, S., Geopolitics: the geography of international relations 2nd ed., London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009.
- Jawad, R., Social welfare and religion in the Middle East: A Lebanese perspective, London: The Policy Press, 2009.
- Mauch, C. & Pfister, C., Natural disasters, cultural responses: case studies toward a global environmental history, London: Lexington Books, 2009.
- Stewart, J., The Middle East today: political, geographical & cultural perspectives, London: Routledge, 2009.