Imagining Future(s) for the Middle East and North Africa

Scenarios are imagined futures that can demonstrate how current actions may lead to dramatically different outcomes. As such they are useful tools to help guide strategy and shape the future. This report lays out scenarios for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with two time horizons: short term (2025) and long term (2050). The former is a kind of business-as-usual scenario that projects current trends in the region and is based on the conclusions drawn from research conducted over three years (April 2016–March 2019). These conclusions point towards greater conflict and contentious state-society dynamics, regional fragmentation and shifting centres of gravity, the region’s embeddedness in global rivalries and disruptive socio-economic and environmental international trends. The report also points at several alternative paths in particular areas or countries where these trends could be reversed, or where specific sectors or countries could take divergent paths and how. Then the report sketches long-term scenarios for 2050 by identifying some megatrends that will inevitably shape the region’s future and the way in which the region will relate to the rest of the world. The report explains why each of the selected issues is particularly relevant and imagines a series of opportunities as well as risks for the region.

Published also in Arabic, French and Turkish.

Rome, IAI, March 2019, 53 p.
Final Reports 2
Publication date: 

Scenarios: What For?
Scenarios: How?
Perceptions on the Future: Hope and Frustration

A Full Catalogue of Risks
A Diverse Region and Disparate Expectations
Many Games in Town
Scenarios for 2025
Scarce Natural Resources: Water, Food and the Effects of Climate Change
What if food dependency is no longer associated with food insecurity?
Oil Still Matters – But Decarbonisation Is Unstoppable
What if Morocco becomes a renewable energy leader?
Social Contract Under Threat: Inequalities in the Forefront
What if female empowerment is more than a slogan?
Fragmented Societies: Polarization and Pluralization
What if Iraq is experiencing a renaissance?
Intrusive Authoritarianism: Control, Repression and Disinformation
What if digital media harbours the hopes of youth?
A Militarized and Brutalized Region
What if Syria moves from reconstruction to reconciliation?
Foreign Meddling and Rebalanced Global Ambitions
What if Africa is seen as an opportunity and a preferential partner?
Scenarios for 2050
Unstoppable Climate Change
Post-Oil World
An Urbanized Region
Digitalization and Automation
Religiosity, Individualization and Citizenship
Strong or Fierce States
Managing the Effects of Today’s Conflicts
China: Primus Inter Pares
Game-changing Africa
Europe and the MENA Region: A Family Issue

Research area