Creating Opportunities for Future Generations 2002
The first Arab States' Report acknowledges that Arab countries have made substantial progress over the past three decades. Life expectancy has increased by 15 years; mortality rates for children under five years of age have fallen by about two thirds; adult literacy has almost doubled, reflecting large increases in gross educational enrollments. Yet it is obvious that Arab countries have not developed as quickly as comparable nations in other regions. Indeed, more than half of Arab women are illiterate; the region's infant mortality rate is twice as high as in Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the past 20 years, income growth per capita has also been extremely low. The Report highlights the causes of these deficits and identifies three areas where Arab institutional structures are hindering performance and crippling human development: governance, women's empowerment, and access to knowledge.