MENA covers an extensive region, extending from Morocco in northwest Africa to Iran in southwest Asia. It generally includes all the Arab Middle East and North Africa countries, as well as Cyprus, Iran, Israel and Turkey. MENA region has vast reserves of petroleum and natural gas that make it a vital source of global economic stability. According to the Oil and Gas Journal (January 1, 2009), the MENA region has 60% of the world's oil reserves (810.98 billion barrels) and 45% of the world's natural gas reserves. With the high oil prices and strong interest of the global investors in the region, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region grew by 5.1 percent on average during 2000-2008. The region as a whole saw a slight increase in GDP growth to 6.1 percent in 2008 compared with 5.6 percent in 2007. A wide range of economic and structural reforms were adopted in the region while public and private investment projects were launched to pursue economic diversification and human capital development as well as investment in oil and gas, infrastructure, and other economic sectors. Many of the MENA countries have demonstrated long-awaited progress on reforms to improve the overall environment for economic growth. Almost all of the countries in the region have taken significant steps to reduce impediments to trade.