The Arab world (Arabic: العالم العربي al-ʿālam al-ʿarabī, formally: Arabic: الوطن العربي), also known as the Arab Nation (Arabic: الأمة العربية al-ʾummah al-ʿarabīah), consists of the Arabic-speaking countries and populations in the Greater Middle East.
The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 countries and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. It has a combined population of around 422 million people, with over half under 25 years of age.
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes seven countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and often Mauritania are the Maghreb or Maghrib, while Egypt and Sudan are referred to as Nile Valley. Egypt is a transcontinental country by virtue of the Sinai Peninsula, which is in Asia. North Africa also includes a number of Spanish possessions, Ceuta and Melilla (tiny Spanish exclaves or islets off the coast of Morocco). The Canary Islands and the Portuguese Madeira Islands, in the North Atlantic Ocean northwest of the African mainland, are sometimes included in considerations of the region.
The distinction between North Africa and much of Sub-Saharan Africa is historically and ecologically significant because of the effective barrier created by the Sahara desert. Throughout history this barrier has culturally separated the North from large parts of the rest of the continent. As the seafaring civilizations of the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims and others facilitated communication and migration across the Mediterranean, the cultures of North Africa became much more closely tied to Southwestern Asia and Europe than Sub-Saharan Africa. The Islamic influence in the area is significant, and North Africa is also a part of the Arab world.
The Arab League is rich in resources, with enormous oil and natural gas reserves. The region's instability has not affected its tourism industry, which is considered the fastest growing sector in the region, with Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Jordan leading the way. Another industry that is growing steadily in the Arab League is telecommunications. Within less than a decade, local companies such as Orascom and Etisalat have managed to successfully compete internationally as global power players.
Economic achievements among member states have been low in the League's history. Other smaller Arab organizations, such as the GCC, have achieved more than the League has. However, lately there has emerged several major economic projects that slated to be completed soon that appear promising. Of these, the Arab Gas Pipeline, a project which hopes to funnel Egyptian and Iraqi gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and then to Turkey and Europe, is scheduled to reach completion by the year 2010. The GAFTA free trade agreement is to be completed by the January 1, 2008, effectively rendering 95% of all Arab products free of customs tax.
Western Asia, or Southwest Asia, are terms that describe the westernmost portion of Asia. The terms are partly coterminous with the Middle East, which describes a geographical position in relation to Western Europe rather than its location within Asia. Due to this perceived Eurocentrism, international organizations such as the United Nations, have replaced Middle East and Near East with Western Asia. This region and Europe are collectively referred to as Western Eurasia.
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant. The sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, although it is usually identified as a completely separate body of water.
The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin mediterraneus, meaning "inland" or "in the middle of the land" (from medius, "middle" and terra, "land"). It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km² (965,000 sq mi), but its connection to the Atlantic (the Strait of Gibraltar) is only 14 km (8.7 mi) wide. In oceanography, it is sometimes called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere.
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
The economy of Syria is based on agriculture, oil, industry and services. Its GDP per capita expanded 80% in the 1960s reaching a peak of 336% of total growth during the 1970s.]citation needed[ This proved unsustainable for Syria and the economy shrank by 33% during the 1980s. However the GDP per capita registered a very modest total growth of 12% (1.1% per year on average) during the 1990s due to successful diversification. More recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected real GDP growth at 3.9% in 2009 from close to 6% in 2008. The two main pillars of the Syrian economy used to be agriculture and oil, which together accounted for about one-half of GDP. Agriculture, for instance, accounted for about 25% of GDP and employed 25% of the total labor force. However, poor climatic conditions and severe drought badly affected the agricultural sector, thus reducing its share in the economy to about 17% of 2008 GDP, down from 20.4% in 2007, according to preliminary data from the Central Bureau of Statistics. On the other hand, higher crude oil prices countered declining oil production and led to higher budgetary and export receipts.
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
Azerbaijan is an economy that has completed its post-Soviet transition into a major oil based economy (with the completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline), from one where the state played the major role. Azeri GDP grew 41.7% in the first quarter of 2007, possibly the highest of any nation worldwide. Such rates cannot be sustained, but despite reaching 26.4% in 2005 (second highest GDP growth in the world in 2005 only to Equatorial Guinea), and 2006 over 34.6% (world highest), in 2008 dropped to 10.8%, and dropped further to 9.3% in 2009. The real GDP growth rate for 2011 was expected at 3.7% but had dropped to .1%. Large oil reserves are a major contributor to the economy. The national currency, the Azerbaijani manat, was stable in 2000, depreciating 3.8% against the dollar. The budget deficit equaled 1.3% of GDP in 2000.
Finance is the allocation of assets and liabilities over time under conditions of certainty and uncertainty. A key point in finance is the time value of money, which states that a unit of currency today is worth more than the same unit of currency tomorrow. Finance aims to price assets based on their risk level, and expected rate of return. Finance can be broken into three different sub categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.
The Eastern Mediterranean denotes the countries geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. This region is also known as the region of Syria or the Levant. The eastern Mediterranean populations share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, and a very long history. The Eastern Mediterranean Muslims, Christians, Circassians and Christian Maronite Cypriots populations speak Levantine Arabic also known as Mediterranean Arabic (شامي). In Israel Hebrew, English and Russian are spoken by the Jews who also observe laws, traditions and customs of Judaism. Small Greek and Armenian communities have retained their own languages and customs based usually on their religion.
The countries and territories of the Eastern Mediterranean include,