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Our Thinking

How Skills Surveys Can More Effectively Identify Workforce Skills Gaps
Through a multicountry review of skills surveys, we propose an alternative approach to establishment skills surveys that can play a more effective role in determining how workforce skills influence achievement of firm business objectives in the Arab World.
Using Social Networking for Change
We see IT as an important enabler for regional development, and we have worked with global technology leaders such as Intel and Microsoft to deepen the impact of regional development programs leveraging technology.
A Regional Institution for Improving the Quality of Education
There are many opportunities for synergies through cooperation between regional education quality programs as well as clear areas of overlap which can benefit from consolidation.
Using Awards Effectively for Social Change
Many award programs in the region focus on large monetary sums to award best practices. We argue that money is not enough, and award programs should reinforce social change through knowledge diffusion, network building initiatives, and follow on training to maximize social impact.
Increasing Female Labor Market Participation With Scholarships
In several countries in the Arab World, women face significant obstacles to obtaining higher education and entering the workforce. We propose an e-Scholarships for Women Initiative to mitigate access, equality, and labor participation challenges.

Research & Insights

An Arab Open Government Maturity Model for Social Media Engagement
Wes Schwalje, Chief Operating Officer, Doha, Qatar
Walid Aradi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai, UAE

An Arab Open Government Maturity Model for Social Media Engagement

In This Article

Exhibit: Social Media Account Establishment Dates for Arab Public Sector Institutions in the Education and Employment Sector in the Gulf Countries

Executive Summary

While embrace of social media as a component of open government initiatives is still in its infancy in the Arab World, there is much expectation that public sector social media use will have a transformative impact on citizen participation in government, policy formation, and the way public sector entities conduct business. However, existing evolutionary models of e-government and open government maturity based on the experiences of Western democracies offer little support to Arab entities that operate in an institutional environment characterized by much different governance traditions.

This study develops a social media maturity model which views public sector social media adoption as an evolutionary process that may involve substantial organizational changes for Arab institutions to move from initial stages of social media adoption to more advanced stages of social media use that truly reflect transparency, public participation, and collaboration. We find that current social media use by Arab government entities is focused primarily on one-way government to citizen communications that chronicle the activities of entities rather than offering additional public transparency and opportunities for citizen participation and collaboration.

Arab open government initiatives remain focused on providing information on low priority activities which is already available via traditional media and on institutional websites. In this way, rather than being a force for reform, social media use in open government initiatives has perpetuated existing patterns of opacity, centralized decision making, and paternalism.

A review of several institutions in the Gulf region in the education and employment sector shown in the Exhibit below reflects widespread adoption particularly of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and to a limited extent LinkedIn and blogging by Arab public sector institutions. While it is difficult to draw a causal link between the timing of account openings and political events that unfolded as part of the Arab Spring or simply the rise of social media users regionally, the majority of Arab public sector social media accounts were opened in mid-2010 and throughout 2011.