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Vahram Stepanyan, Gohar Abajyan, Anta Ndoye, and Ms. Marwa Alnasaa
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a cornerstone of Arab economies, accounting for over 90 percent of all businesses and providing a major source of new job creation. Governments across the Arab World recognize the important role that SMEs can play in delivering higher and more inclusive growth. Many have rightly placed SME development at the center of growth and jobs strategies to meet the needs of young populations. Authorities have initiated policy interventions and schemes to support SME development. But progress so far has been patchy, and more comprehensive policy action is needed. Fostering vibrant and competitive SMEs that contribute to employment opportunities and high value-added output requires various stakeholders to deliver on a broad range of factors. Arab governments need a holistic policy approach that addresses the gaps in access to finance, creates an enabling business environment, and upgrades human capital and infrastructure. The approach should also promote an entrepreneurial mindset.
Mishel Ghassibe, Maximiliano Appendino, and Samir Elsadek Mahmoudi
This paper offers empirical evidence that greater financial inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can promote higher economic growth and employment, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. First, we show that countries with higher SME financial inclusion exhibit more effective monetary policy transmission and tax collection. Second, we find substantial employment and labor productivity growth gains at the firm level from access to credit, gains that are higher for SMEs. We also obtain evidence of a substantial positive impact on SME employment and labor productivity growth from improved credit bureau coverage and insolvency regimes. Finally, cross-country aggregate evidence confirms the employment and growth gains from SME financial inclusion, which appear larger in the Middle East and Central Asia than in other regions.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses the impact of workforce aging on productivity in the euro area. The euro area population has aged considerably over the past few decades, and the process is expected to accelerate in the years ahead. At the same time, labor productivity growth in the euro area has been sluggish, posing risks to long-term growth prospects. It is estimated that workforce aging could significantly retard total factor productivity (TFP) growth over the medium to long term. Given current demographic projections from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the aging of the workforce in the euro area could lower TFP growth by about 0.2 percentage points each year between 2014 and 2035. Appropriate policies can, however, mitigate the adverse effects of aging.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

This Selected Issues paper analyzes fiscal multipliers in Mexico. Estimates of fiscal multipliers--obtained from state-level spending--fall within 0.6-0.7 after accounting for dynamic effects. However, the size of multipliers varies with the output gap. The planned fiscal consolidation-under the estimated multipliers-is projected to subtract on average 0.5 percentage points from growth over 2015-20. However, there are offsetting effects. The positive growth impulse of lower costs on manufactured goods production is estimated to reach 0.5 percentage point in 2015 and 2016, largely offsetting the impact of fiscal consolidation on growth in the near term.

Vivek Ghosal and Yang Ye
We examine the impact of uncertainty on employment dynamics. Alternative measures of uncertainty are constructed based on the survey of professional forecasters, and regressionbased forecasting models for GDP growth, inflation, S&P500 stock price index, and fuel prices. Our results indicate that greater uncertainty has a negative impact on growth of employment, and the effects are primarily felt by the relatively smaller businesses; the impact on large businesses are generally non-existent or weaker. Our results suggest that to truly understand the effects of uncertainty on employment dynamics, we need to focus on the relatively smaller and entrepreneurial businesses. We discuss implications for the framing of economic policy.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This Selected Issues paper discusses the designing and implementing of Kuwait�s fiscal policy for the medium term. Fiscal policy has a major role to play in supporting macrostability and diversification. The fiscal strategy design and implementation on a yearly basis are based on a few key areas such as determining targets or ceilings for major fiscal parameters for a three-year rolling framework with binding next budget year and indicative two outer years, establishing a clear process for expressing policy objectives and their link to expenditure, etc. The illustrative budget sequencing with the fiscal strategy spearheading medium-term fiscal policymaking and linked to the annual budget process would support fiscal policy implementation.