Journal of International Business and Management (JIBM)

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Volume 5 | Issue 5 | 2022


Title: Blockchain in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Opportunities for Regional Integration and Economic Growth

Author(S): Martin Grossman

Corresponding Author Affiliation*: Bridgewater State University, USA

Funding Information: Sponsored by the U S Department of Education, Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program, CFDA # 84.016A.

Abstract:

Composed of an assortment of countries with vast differences in economic and political development, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has historically been slow to embrace integration. The region consists of a diverse mix of countries with complex colonial legacies, ongoing warfare, tribal and religious enmity, and extreme wealth disparity. Recent advances in technology have the potential to enable greater cohesion and development. One such innovation is blockchain, an immutable distributed ledger technology that eliminates intermediaries and revolutionizes how transactions take place over the Internet. While originating as the technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain has been applied in many other areas in which data integrity and transparency is vital and has been adopted around the world. This paper explores blockchain adoption in the MENA region, focusing on the financial systems, government policies, and innovation ecosystems within the member countries. Huge discrepancies in the levels of development and adoption of the technology in the MENA countries are revealed, with Israel and several of the oil-rich Gulf states being the most advanced. Examples of blockchain-related collaborations among MENA nations are presented and the future trajectory of blockchain adoption is explored.

Keywords: MENA, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Middle East, North Africa, Regional integration

DOI: https://doi.org/10.37227/jibm-2022-04-5373/

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Print ISSN: 2616-5163 Online ISSN: 2616-4655

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