The Middle East and North Africa

The so-called 'Arab Spring' has brought movement into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a region that had previously been stagnating in many ways. Before the Arab Spring the MENA had long been characterised by authoritarianism, increasing environmental pollution and modest economic growth, which was unable to either reduce poverty and unemployment, or to facilitate structural change. Since the Arab Spring, the political and economic situation has not improved in most of the countries of the region.
The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) conducts research with a focus on the following issues in the MENA context:

  • What influences do developments in the MENA region have on global trends and vice versa?
  • Why did several MENA countries, including Syria, Yemen and Libya, implode?
  • What can be done to prevent other MENA countries from collapsing? Which economic and social policy, and governance, reforms are due?
  • What could a new Social Contract, capable of bringing stability and development to MENA countries, look like?
  • How and where can MENA economies better position themselves in the world economy? How can the needed structural changes be promoted?
  • How can the management of water and other resources, and the use of the region's abundant renewable energies, be improved?
  • Which instruments can Germany and Europe best utilise in their future cooperation with MENA countries?

Research staff



Former Projects


Regional co-ordinator

Markus Loewe

phone +49 (0)228 94927-154
fax +49 (0)228 94927-130

Mena Team Flyer



Interview with Azeddine Akesbi

Between 'Arab Spring' and democratic governance

In the media

Der Westen muss die Fehler der Vergangenheit vermeiden
Markus Loewe in an Interview with Nana Brink
Deutschlandradio Kultur on 11 December 2015


What Europe can do after the attacks of 13 November – and what it shouldn’t
Henökl, Thomas (2015)
The Current Column of 20 November 2015

Interview with Abdolkarim Soroush

In the media

Staudamm-Streit: Wem gehört der Nil?
Ludger Schadomsky
7 April 2015
Deutsche Welle

In the media

Wer auf Assad zugeht, stärkt den IS
Bernhard Trautner
6 April 2015
Zeit Online