China has built infrastructure across the Arab world that could facilitate an economic revolution to match ongoing social movements. But that's hardly been the case.
After revolutions—largely provoked by economic injustice—Arab economies still rely on tourism, oil and foreign aid, even if members of the Arab diaspora are keen to bring international industry to their homelands. The Arab world must reach out to its communities abroad. That's what China did in the early 1980s, and now it owns a mint in U.S. debt.
A Tunisian American with a plan
After Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution last year, a Tunisian American eBay executive contacted his homeland's interim leaders with a plan to revolutionize the economy. Sami Ben Romdhane wanted to turn start a “Tunisian Silicon Valley,” a regional hotbed for IT innovation.
“We have the skill set and a lot of young people who have graduated with degrees in IT. We have the brainware,” Ben Romdhane said of generation that orchestrated a revolution with Facebook and Twitter.