One of the busiest articles on dp@large is a list of countries that are considered to make up MENA.
Since I published it about a year ago, there have been countless readers from around the globe. Yet, a list is a list.
Looking a little deeper, the list reveals additional insight which leads to a greater understanding of the region.
Let’s have a quick look at the MENA countries from a view other than strictly what is found on the map.
In fact if you filter the countries you can actually assemble two groups.
The first of the two groups are oil exporters. Actually six of the countries are included in the GCC. These six countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. The first group is complete when you include Algeria, Libya, Iraq, and Iran. 2 of these countries are in Northern Africa and they are of course, Libya and Algeria.
The second group is made up of net oil-importers. Put the following countries into group 2. They are Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia.
Before we go further, let’s work some definitions.
Oil exporters – A country or territory who produces oil and move it around by selling it.
Net oil importers – A country or territory whose value of imported oil is higher than its value of exported oil over a given period of time. Consider a net importer the opposite of a net exporter.
Here are some stats that should be of interest to anyone trying to understand the economics of the region.
The total population of all these countries is roughly 321 million people. That’s slightly larger than US, three times the Japanese population, and 13 times the population of Australia.
The combined MENA nations GDP is about $2.9 trillion. Most currencies in the region are pegged to the dollar or to a basket of currencies.
Roughly 70% of the world’s proven oil reserves and 50% of proven gas reserves reside in the MENA nations. Because of this, MENA oil-exporters play a critical role in the world energy market.
Going back to 2012, the total earnings from oil and gas accounted for about 73% of total exports and 78% of budget revenues.
Going forward, expect the region to struggle with change, be it political, social, or economic. Time will tell if these countries can expand their economies, dial in and maintain their preferred lifestyle, and contribute to the global village.