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During a recent trip to the Middle East, I was struck by the growing gap between countries – so much so that, more than ever, I came away convinced that it makes no sense today to talk of the region as a coherent whole.Tragically, tremendous human suffering will likely persist, and the waves of human migration that this induces will place significant pressure on adjacent countries, particularly Jordan and Lebanon.Helped by higher oil revenues, countries such as the United Arab Emirates are forging ahead with multi-faceted programs to diversify their growth engines, further strengthen their human and physical capital, and set aside even more substantial financial resources for future generations.Perhaps no example illustrates these challenges as well as Egypt, a country whose experience highlights what is at stake for the region.Notwithstanding political disagreements, progress is being made in designing a program of economic reform that can unleash the country's tremendous capabilities.A lot is riding on whether countries such as Egypt embrace durable economic, financial, institutional, political, and social reforms – and whether they do so in the context of progress toward greater democratization, social justice, and respect for human rights.
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