Structural determinants of social disparities in the Arab region
These papers are the outcome of a conference that was held in Tunis, Tunisia (16-17 September 2016)
Publishers: Arab Forum for Alternatives and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung North Africa office
The social and economic transformations that accompanied globalization underlined the significance of the issue of social disparities on the international level. This significance is mainly derived from the effect of these transformations on social justice, which in turn impacts development, stability, and economic growth, all part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The gap between the rich and the poor started widening with the 1980s recession and the subsequent debt crisis that led to the adoption of neoliberal policies, thus marking the end of an era, which started from the 1950s, where developing countries were taking serious steps towards actual development. The new millennium witnessed the signing of a number of agreements with international financial institutions, yet another transformation took place following the Arab uprisings when such agreements took a different turn to see the direct intervention of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in determining the social and economic policies of several Arab countries, a role traditionally played by the World Bank. The series of agreements signed after the revolution led to a further deepening of social disparities in the Arab region through the consolidation of the same neoliberal policies against which the revolutions erupted. The alliance between power and money, corruption, and nepotism reasons for the eruption of the revolutions, were far from being eliminated, thus contributing to widen the gaps between different segments of society. Those disparities, especially as they keep deepening, are detrimental to social and political stability as well as to development.
Social disparities constitute a direct threat to economic growth since impoverished and marginalized classes and the lower-middle class all become incapable of investing in education, which is an indispensable component of the development process. Poverty and inequality in accessing basic services such as education and healthcare give rise to chronic physical and psychological ailments and negatively impacts the mental growth of children hence impeding the development of their skills on the long term. Gender disparities also have a negative impact on the development of children especially in terms of their access to education and healthcare.
In the light of the papers of which this book is comprised, this chapter analyzes social disparities within a theoretical and ideological framework, traces the transformation of the economic structure of the Arab region to market economy and its impact on social disparities, and examines the determinants of social disparities in Arab countries.
First: Interest networks:
The dominant class is not necessarily the same as the ruling class. It is possible to distinguish two classes, one dominant and another ruling, or the ruling authority can be comprised of an alliance of different classes. The state can also create a special class through which it can rule, which was the case in the post-independence era in countries like Egypt and Algeria with the new bourgeoisie that benefited the most from state control of all production sectors. This same class later supported the shift to market economy to acquire more gains through selling or privatizing public sector institutions or through partnering with international companies through establishing local franchises. This was especially the case with Iraq and Lebanon where the sharing of power among the sects turned into the division of wealth among politicians within each sect so that sectarian leaders acquire their legitimacy from their affiliation to this rich elite rather than belonging to their respective sects. In cases like Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, and Morocco, a new class was formed with the implementation of structural reform policies. This class became like a state within a state and that is why its monopolizing and discriminating practices are not monitored and its influence is never rivaled. This is demonstrated in monarchies in several Arab countries and families of presidents and senior officials in others and both are usually surrounded by a group of businessmen who become the façade for their economic activities and who are granted all the facilities required for their enterprises. It is in the best interest of those classes to maintain the status quo and that is why they always resist any change to the rules of the political and economic game that serves their interests and protects the sources of their wealth. The Arab region is comprised of a set of intricate political and economic networks that not only control their respective countries, but at times expand to others through regional alliance and offshore partnerships. Meanwhile, inequality is consolidated and social justice remains lacking in all Arab societies.
This arrangement gave rise to different forms of monopoly. For example, in Oman, members of the dominant class, who is close to the ruling class, controlled the economy in a legalized manner through controlling decision-making circles and taking part in drafting legislations that regulate the national economy. This was the class that monopolized the biggest franchises on oil and gas, services, import and export, and basic goods, which in turn led to the marginalization of the majority in favor of the minority. In Yemen, a commercial bourgeoisie, with close links to the ruling class, controlled the economy especially after the implementation of structural reform programs which allowed a few families to monopolize all projects. The wealth of then president Ali Abdullah Saleh was estimated at USD 60 billion administered by five Yemeni business families. In Jordan, the comprador and bureaucratic bourgeoisie control the resources of the country and monopolize the market through consumer and services projects in a way that marginalized the original middle class until it got isolated and impoverished. This led to the emergence of crony capitalism in which wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few and which is detrimental to fair competition between different economic players and to small and medium projects and obstructs the initiation of innovative strategies that increase productivity and encourages competition.
The alliance between the dominant and ruling classes does not totally overrule the possibility of disputes between the two whether during the division of profits or during the process of getting rid of a specific class or a group within a class for becoming a liability at a certain time. Such disputes have an impact on the social and economic conditions of the citizens, which is demonstrated in the cases of Tunisia and Egypt. In Tunisia, a conflict erupted between President Beji Caid Essebsi and his allies on one hand and the Muslim Brotherhood and their local and regional interest networks on the other hand. The dispute ended with the dismissal of the Tunisian minister of telecommunications, who wanted to strike a deal with a Cypriot service provider, thus undermining negotiations with a Qatari company on the same deal. The Islamist al-Nahda party insisted on a minister from its members to make sure the deal with Qatar will be secured. In Egypt, the rising influence of the military and their businessmen triggers the indignation of Egyptian businessmen and their economic and social allies since it has a negative impact on their investment opportunities and drives them to consider transferring their businesses outside the country. Even if some businessmen manage to retain their positions or their shares of the market, the conflict between the ruling and dominant class destabilizes the economic structure and the market that depends on it, which in turn impacts political stability.
Social disparities are also manifested in inequality in access to and management of natural resources. For example, in Tunisia, the percentage of farmers who possess less than 5 hectares reaches 53% while they possess only 9% of total arable land across the country. On the other hand, holders of more than 100 hectares reach 1% and they hold 25% of the total land according to the 1994/1995 statistics. The 2004/2005 statistics follow more or less the same pattern with holders of less than 5 hectares reaching 54%, with only 1% increase, and they hold 11% of total land, with 2% increase. The percentage of holders of more than 100 hectares remained the same, but they became holders of 22% of total land. In Lebanon, The total number of arable land holdings in 1998 in Lebanon reached 195 thousand, 53% of which use less than 5 dunams, that is 9% of arable land while 20% use land that ranges from 5 to 10 dunams, that is 11% of total arable land. On the other hand, 14% use 10-20 dunams, that is 15% of the total land in addition to 13% using more than 20 dunams, which is 65% of total land. According to the 2010 statistics, 68% of land holders with less than 10 dunams use 18% of total arable land. On the other hand, 26% of land holders have less than 40 dunams, which translates into 41% of total arable land while 4% hold 40-100 dunams, which constitute 18% of total arable land and only 2% hold more than 100 dunams, that is 33% of total arable land. The distribution of resources in Egypt is characterized by a high degree of discrepancy, especially as far as social justice is concerned. For example, farmers who hold less than 5 acres constitute the majority in the Egyptian countryside. The number of those farmers reached 2.75 million (95% of total land holders) in 1990 while this number exceeded 3.5 million (also 95% of land holders) in 2000. While small and impoverished farmers held around 57% of total arable land in 2000, rich farmers, who constituted only 3% of to land holders in the same year, held 37% of total arable land in Egypt.
Second, economic policies and public spending priorities:
International financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have since the 1980s been directly involved in the economic and social policies of the Arab region through a number of channels such as loans and structural reform programs. These institutions played a major role in deepening social disparities and obstructing the achievement of social justice. Restructuring or structural reform programs aim at reshaping the economy of Arab countries to suit the global capitalist systems. According to World Bank and IMF experts, those programs aim at achieving the ideal distribution of human and material resources for creating the suitable economic and social dynamics that would eventually lead to the kind of economic growth that would help the countries subject of the programs progress. On the surface, these programs seem to offer a comprehensive project that is bound to achieve real development, yet only from the capitalist point of view in which development is centered around opening local markets to the global economy and increasing export revenue as a crucial component of development.
These policies had a negative impact on the economic and social conditions of Arab citizens as wealth became concentrated in the hands of the few and crony capitalism gained more ground. Neoliberal policies implemented in the Arab region focused on the liberation of the economy- privatization-austerity trio marketed by international financial institutions as a way out of economic crises. The eruption of the 2011 revolutions, in which the people called for better economic and social conditions, did not stop these policies, but actually became more powerful. This is demonstrated in austerity measures, lifting subsidies, freezing salaries, and increasing consumer taxes, all of which play a major role in deepening social disparities. Freezing salaries had a negative impact on the level of human development in several Arab countries that suffer from shortage in several jobs such as teachers, doctors, and workers. For example, For example, Morocco needs to employ 7,000 doctors and 9,000 nurses to meet the needs of the healthcare sector. Social disparities are bound to increase following the Moroccan government’s decision to privatize the health and education sectors. Freezing salaries so that they are not modified in accordance with inflation rates harm the purchase power of public sector employees, which affects the quality of offered services because employees’ start absenting themselves from work and many of them look for additional private jobs. This deterioration of services is particularly visible in working class neighborhoods in cities and in villages. The decline of employees’ purchase power contributes to increasing inequality between classes. Other measures were taken in the work place that were allegedly meant to create a competitive edge such as frequent downsizing, decreasing end of service bonuses, and introducing temporary contracts. This was done without taking into consideration that a competitive edge relies on totally different factors such as the quality of production, creativity, and efficiency. In fact, such measures weaken the working class and lead to further wage cuts in an atmosphere already suffering from the contraction of the business cycle. Neoliberal policies also led to the deterioration of services provided by the state such as education and healthcare and had a particular effect on women as school dropout rates increased. In Egypt, subsidies on fuel and foodstuffs were decreased and regressive taxes were increased especially on goods and services through the value added tax. There is also a tendency towards reducing public spending on basic services such as education and healthcare and privatizing public sector institutions.
The impact of austerity measures, currently applied by several Arab countries especially Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Syria, is mainly the result of a short-sighted economic vision that prioritized overall economic balances over the economic and social rights of citizens. The principle of justice and solidarity are not part of such vision which is the core of neoliberal policies promoted by international financial institutions. This kind of vision only believes in the role of the individual as an economic player who only looks for multiplying profit in a competitive market.
Access to services becomes harder in the case of women. Demographic and health surveys in 2014 revealed that only 8% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 who were married are covered by medical insurance whereas across Egypt, 50% of citizens have medical insurance. The same report showed that 30% of women from the same age group are subjected to physical or sexual violence by their husbands, at times for reasons like going out without their permission, which in turn affects women’s decision to go out to seek medical care. It is important to note that gap between women’s education in the countryside and urban areas, for while 17% of women from urban areas have not received any form of education, this percentage reaches 30% in the countryside. The average number of education years for women in urban areas is estimated at 8, compared to only 4 in the countryside. Gender plays a major role in this discrepancy because the gap is not that wide among men. For example, 10% of men in urban areas have not received any form of education, compared to 16% in the countryside. Education years are estimated at 9 in urban areas, compared to 6 in the countryside. In general, illiteracy rate in the countryside reaches 32% of the total population, compared to 15% in urban areas.
Third: Laws and legislations:
Arab countries adopt similar economic and financial legislations and they all play a major role in deepening social disparities. Following independence from colonization, several Arab countries adopted social policies that aimed at bridging the gaps between classes through relying on revenues as the main pillar of the economy. The state provided free education and healthcare, issued a labor law that provides all works in all sectors with social security, set an equal-pay system, and unified the social insurance system in different sectors created during the colonial period. However, most these policies were not properly implemented on the ground whether in terms of distribution or quality due to lack of adequate human or financial resources. The result was that those policies became more of a formality rather than a reality.
For example, many services were indeed offered for free, yet they kept deteriorating over time. The state started withdrawing from several sectors it previously supported and started looking for new sources of funding. This transformation saw a shift in the state’s approach to issues like labor relations and wages which became more subject to negotiations rather determined by the central government. Investment was also encouraged through offering a number of incentives and lifting previous restrictions. This gave rise to the informal sector where work was no longer stable and mass layoffs became frequent, which in turn resulted to increasing poverty rates and creating social disparities.
Economic and financial legislations play a major role in deepening social disparities. In Egypt, low income citizens do not have access to housing projects because of the definition of low-income in article According to article 1 of prime minister’s decree number 1864 for the year 2008 on modifying article 38 of mortgage law number 148 for the year 2001, a low-income family is one whose annual income is 30,000 Egyptian pounds or less. Statistics by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics for 2013 revealed this definition applies to families that occupy the highest fifth of incomes. This allowed medium-income families to compete with low-income ones in housing projects, thus weakening the latter’s opportunities.
After the Arab Spring, governments did not change their approach as they continued to design their policies in a nondemocratic manner and to clamp down on civil society, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, and opposition parties through legislations that legalize repression. In Egypt, the counter-terrorism law, issued to allow the state to clamp down on opposition, violates citizens’ constitutional rights. In the same year, protest movements were threatened by military trials. For example, workers at the Alexandria Shipyard were tried before a military court for threatening to stage a strike even though they are all civilians. They were, however, accused of attempting to undermine a military facility. Egypt also witnessed a flagrant violation of articles 170 and 190 of the constitution through signing the IMF loan agreement without going back to the parliament or taking into consideration objections to the negative repercussions of the loan on the social and economic levels.
Laws governing the right to protest are another example of curbing freedoms and violating constitutional rights. In Egypt during the rule of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, a law was issued by the cabinet to criminalize rallies and strikes that obstruct work progress and negatively affects public and private interests. This law led to arresting a number of workers and referring them to military trials. Laws the regulate the establishment and activities of cooperatives are similarly obstructive for Egypt is home to more than 18,000 cooperatives that include 18 million members, but their presence is more of a formality and most of them are not really active on the ground and not representative of people’s needs. Several legislations such as law no. 28 for the year 1984 made cooperatives affiliated to the authority, thus robbing them of all forms of independence and of their ability to voice the demands of the people.
It is noteworthy that capitalism is closely linked to the patriarchal system, which led women to be doubly marginalized in different degrees depending on the country and the culture. Women get 24% less wages than men, occupy only 25% of administrative and leading positions, are not part of the upper administration of 32% of companies, and their share of parliamentary seats in their respective countries does not exceed 22%. This discrimination jeopardizes the security of women and contributes to the deterioration of their living conditions as they are being excluded from the social, political, and economic scene, especially as far as decision-making concerned. Such lack of equality is bound to aggravate social disparities. Discrimination against women is also demonstrated in ownership of land and property. In Tunisia, for example, the number of female landholders is estimated at 22, 980, which constitutes only 9.2% of total landholders and 4% of total arable land. In Egypt, percentage of female landholders does not exceed 7% of the total number of landholders, 1% less than the 1999-2000 statistics. Despite the fact that most Arab countries ratified The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), they still voice their reservations about several articles.
Fourth: Regional disparities:
The industrial mode started collapsing and the economies of developing countries started going through successive crises. The countryside deteriorated as a result of the existence of an export-focused commercial sector on one hand and a livelihood-based commercial sector on the other hand. Urban areas also deteriorated as a result of the social repercussions of restructuring policies and the gradual withdrawal of the state from public services. The deterioration of general conditions in developing countries is, furthermore, manifested in mass movements whether in the form of refugees, especially from Africa, or labor migration that was met in the North by procedures that are quite discriminatory such as law number 187 in California or the Schengen Agreement in Europe. As a result, social disparities reached an unprecedented level.
The centralized nature of Arab governments leads to favoring the capital and major cities at the expense of the countryside even though the latter in many cases is more populated. In Yemen, the majority of citizens still live in the countryside despite the major transformations in the demographic distribution between 1994 and 2004 where city residents increased from 23.5% to 28.64%. Still, residents of urban areas do not exceed one third of the population in Yemen. In Egypt, 57% live in the countryside, a percentage that almost did not change since the 1990s. In fact, the number of countryside residents increased at the expense of city residents in 2015 in Egypt. In Jordan, internal migrations played a major role in creating a wide gap between the center and the periphery and changed the characteristics of the city as the center of the moderation of the middle class and a representative of the ideologies and lifestyle of its members. The city lost its identity as it became endowed with Bedouin and rural characteristics that altered its features and divided society into two parts: one that is moderate and exposed to the outside world and another that is conservative and traditional.
There is also a discrepancy in access to public service between the city and the countryside. In Egypt, the countryside has less access to sewage, clean water, healthcare, schools, and roads. Sewage had, in fact, been one of the most prominent aspects of state negligence of the countryside. In 2010/2011, only 24.7% of residents of rural area were connected to the public sewage network, compared to 88% in urban areas. As for housing, around 30% of families in the Upper Egyptian countryside live in one-room apartments while 50% live in two-room apartments. It is noteworthy that families in Upper Egypt are generally larger than in other parts of Egypt.
This discrepancy between the center and the periphery is also applied to technology and telecommunications. In Egypt, only 2% of families in the countryside are connected to the internet, compared to 15% in urban areas. The countryside and urban areas only get close in the use of mobile phone as 81% of families in the countryside own mobile phones, compared to 91% in urban areas. Disparities in access to banking services are also obvious mainly because bank branches are not equally distributed across the country. This is also because of the state’s tendency in the past few decades to privatize the banking sector, which particularly affects the poor. Statistics in 2014 reveal that 3% of families in the countryside in Lower Egypt have one member who has a bank account, compared to 17% in border governorates and 14% in the four urban governorates: Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and Port Said.
Development projects are not equally distributed across different parts of Arab countries. In Yemen, services and jobs are concentrated in Aden, Taez, al-Hudayeda, and al-Mukalla. While infrastructure is weak in those cities, it cannot be compared to that of the countryside where medical services are almost nonexistent and where education suffers from remarkable deterioration. Even in places where schools were constructed, the quality of education is poor and there is a remarkable shortage of staff. In Egypt, there is a noticeable discrepancy between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, or between one governorate and the other. This discrepancy is at time random and at others obviously biased to urban cities, especially Cairo. In Tunisia, despite the richness of the North West in terms of natural resources, it suffers the most from marginalization and impoverishment in favor of major cities that get the biggest share of development projects and public spending. In Syria, predominantly-Kurdish regions in the north east of Syria, in the region known as Upper Mesopotamia, were the most subjected to impoverishment and had the highest rates of illiteracy and poverty. This region is home to 58% of impoverished citizens in Syria even before the 2006 drought that had a detrimental impact on farmers and shepherds. In 2010, the poverty rate in the North West reached 80%. The Omani case is quite similar the capital Muscat gets the biggest share in terms of public spending while the least share goes to border regions such as the governorates of Musandam and Buraimi on the border with the UAE. This discrepancy stirred the indignation of residents of these regions and led to a remarkable rise in migrations to the capital, hence putting more pressure on public services there and affecting their quality.
One the problems tackled in the papers included in this book is the deterioration of traditional crafts that were mainly based in the countryside. In Oman, The presence of decision-making circles in the center also led to a remarkable decline in many traditional crafts and activities—such as agriculture, fishing, textiles, pottery, handcrafts, and tanning—across the country. For example, the percentage of the growth rates of agriculture and fishing in the gross domestic product dropped to 9.7% in 2015 compared to 15.7% in 2013. The same applies to transformative industries that dropped to -13.4% compared to 4.3% in the same year. There are also cases when the distribution of income depends on the climate of a given region. The discrepancy between different parts of the Yemeni countryside is partly attributed to climate and crops. For example, areas that grow khat are better off even though it is a crop that consumes a lot of water. In addition to being a valuable commodity, Khat is considered the main source of income for people living in areas that grow it and plays a major role in pumping money to the countryside.
Fifth: Armed conflicts:
The Arab region is witnessing a wave of unprecedented violence and that added to the reasons that led to the deepening of social disparities and was particularly detrimental to the impoverished and marginalized classes. For example, the social and economic structure of Yemen got totally paralyzed one year after the conflict started. According to official reports, the gross domestic product shrunk in 2015 by 28% and the escalating conflict, which started in March 2015, stopped all economic activities and destroyed the infrastructure in addition to the fact that since the first quarter of 2015, oil and gas exports had already stopped. Imports, except foodstuffs and bioenergy, have remarkably declined and the annual inflation has reached around 30%. The situation is expected to get worse as the UN World Food Program (WFP) declared that almost half the Yemeni people are starved and that more than 10 million citizens out of a total of 25 million are suffering from acute malnutrition. That is why the WFP announced increasing its aid to Yemen. In addition to the tens of thousands of deaths and injuries, approximately 3 million people had to leave their homes in conflict zones, and the already ailing infrastructure was totally destroyed. The war context also gave power to black market mafias, war lords, and militia leaders and while those accumulate huge amounts of money from selling oil and basic products in the black market, the majority of the population is living under poverty line and is on the verge of famine.
In Syria, the human development index reached 0.472 in late 2013, compared to 0.646 in 2010 and poverty rate reached 82.5% in late 2014. In addition, more than 85,000 workers were laid off in the first year of the revolution alone. Work in a large number of institutions ground to a halt and infrastructure was destroyed in the cities that were bombed in addition to millions of people who became homeless. Industrial and crafts facilities and agricultural projects, which were mainly located in Rif Dimashq and Aleppo, were totally destroyed while financial resources and oil products were channeled towards military operations. A large number of state institutions closed because of fuel shortage and transportation stoppage. Prices soared by almost 100%, especially, fertilizers, chemicals, telecommunications, and fuel, and many commodities became of below-average quality in the absence of state supervision. In addition, unemployment and inflations reached unprecedented rates.
The Libyan case is not different as the production of oil, the main source of revenue, dropped from 800,000 to 250,000 barrels per day at most, which is not even enough for local consumption. A large portion of spending is also directed to warring militias while the prices of basic goods are skyrocketing if they are available in the first place. Basic healthcare services are almost absent and so are medications in drug stores and medical equipment in hospitals. There is also a shortage in cooking gas and kerosene used for heating.
Social disparities are not only multi-layered, but they also overlap. Social disparities can be the result of geographical location which is obvious in the comparison between the city and the countryside. This level intersects with that of poverty and deprivation of resources since the social and economic conditions of the city are better than those in the countryside. Gender-based disparities also play a role in both the previous levels since women are generally more prone to discrimination and this suffers from multiple levels of disparities. Race, sect, and religion add to the layers upon which disparities are founded. That is why the issue of social disparities is too complex to been analyzed in separate categories and this overlap has to be taken into consideration in order to understand the nature of such disparities.
The continuation of neoliberal policies after the 2011 revolutions played a major role in widening the gap between social classes. Tunisia signed two agreements with the IMF, totaling more than 5 billion dollars over 6 years. Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco signed similarly dangerous agreements. Jordan signed last summer a three-year 0.7 billion dollar agreement with the IMF while Egypt is working on an agreement involving a bundle of conditions that include several production sectors, banking and financial activities, and social affairs. The Moroccan government also signed its third agreement with the IMF since 2012 for 3.5 billion dollars in return for several structural reforms and austerity measures to be implemented over two years. All these agreements are accompanied by a set of conditions that are bound to increase the suffering of the people, especially the impoverished and the marginalized who suffer the most upon the implementation of austerity measures and the lifting of subsidies.
Arab governments do not seem ready to admit where they went wrong and obviously are not yet willing to step down. Social disparities will never be eliminated and social justice will never be achieved without governments’ realizing that the stability of any community is based first and foremost on equality, social justice, and sustainable development and that alternative solutions are needed after the current ones proved a failure. This will not be possible without serious attempts at eliminating corruption and supporting participatory practices in which the people are involved in the decision-making process and in which civil society, cooperatives, and unions are really independent. Acknowledging the dangers social disparities pose to any given society is the first step towards a fair system in which people receive equal opportunities and gain equal access to public services.
 Mohamed Said al-Saadi. “Social disparities in the Arab region: Concepts and problems,” included in this book.
 Human Development Report 2014, UN Development Program.
 World Bank report on gender equality: “Gender Equality as Part of a Smart Economy,” September 2006.
 Khaled Ali. “The impact of protests on social disparities in the Arab region.” included in this book.
 Said Sultan al-Hashmi. “Justice or compromise? Social disparities and challenges to social justice in Oman,” included in this book.
 Maan Dammag. “Social and class disparities in Yemen,” included in this book.
 Mahmoud Abel Fadil. Crony Capitalism [Arabic]. Al-Ain Publishing House, 2011, p.69.
 Khaled Ali.
 Abdel Mawla Ismail. “Environmental problematics and the role of alternative economy,” included in this book.
 Mohamed Said al-Saadi.
 Mongia Hedfi.
 Mohamed Said al-Saadi.
 ibid., p.46
 Ibid., p.47
 Heba Khalil. “Towards a methodology of studying social disparities in Egypt,” included in this book
 Fadila Akkache. “Social disparities and social justice in Algeria,” included in this book.
 Khaled Ali.
 Mongia Hedfi. “Economic empowerment of women: Policies and alternatives,” included in this book.
 Adel Mawla Ismail.
 Zuhair Tawfiq. “The impact of social disparities on the middle class in Jordan,” included in this book.
 Egypt in Numbers [Arabic]. The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, 2012.
 Egypt in Numbers [Arabic]. The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, 2015.
 Wassim Laabidi. “Social disparities in Tunisia,” included in this book.
 Joseph Daher, “Social and economic transformations in Syria,” included in this book.
 Said Sultan al-Hashmi.
 Maan Dammag,
 Fathi Chamkhi. “International financial institutions and post- Arab Spring social disparities,” included in this book.