Who Won the Arab Spring?

By Covering Business     March 14, 2012

As the Arab Spring blossomed last year, civil rights advocates and investors alike hailed the uprisings as harbingers of new economic freedom. Casting off one totalitarian regime after the next, the Middle East would prosper, supporters said. Investment opportunities would expand and the region would improve its lot.

A recent Knowledge@Wharton article suggests that the two earliest beneficiaries of the Arab Spring are actually far from the heart of the revolution. In Iraq and Morocco, money is already flowing in.

• Even before the violence in Egypt and Tunisia erupted, Morocco made a deliberate effort to cast itself as modernized and politically stable. As a result, global manufacturers began setting up beachheads there to take advantage of cheap labor.

• In Iraq, oil revenues are up sharply since 2010 and are helping to spur economic growth. U.S. foreign investment has helped drive demand for consumer products and new housing. Corruption remains an issue, but Iraq is still projected grow quickly, benefiting from its pole position in the race to lure investors to the Middle East.

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