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Deon Filmer, Roberta Gatti, Halsey Rogers, Mr. Nikola Spatafora, and Drilona Emrullahu
We discuss existing shortfalls and inequalities in the accumulation of human capital—knowledge, skills, and health. We analyze their immediate and systemic causes, and assess the scope for public intervention. The broad policy goals should be to improve: the quality, and not just the quantity, of education and health care; outcomes for disadvantaged groups; and lifelong outcomes. The means to achieve these goals, while maximizing value for money, include: focusing on results rather than just inputs; moving from piecemeal interventions to systemic reform; and adopting a “whole-of-society” approach. Reforms must be underpinned by a robust evidence base.
International Monetary Fund. Office of Budget and Planning
On April 27, 2020, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the IMF’s administrative and capital budgets for financial year (FY) 2021, beginning May 1, 2020, and took note of indicative budgets for FY 2022–23.
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.
Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Carolin Geginat, and Ms. Gaelle Pierre
This paper examines the extent to which firms in selected MENA countries reported being constrained by the business environment around the time of the Arab Spring and the extent to which these constraints affected their employment performance. The results suggest that small firms in MENA faced more structural constraints than similar firms in other regions. We also find that MENA firms’ weaker job creation can be explained in great part by the macroeconomic environment and structural constraints. Low GDP growth, falling external competitiveness, corruption, lack of access to finance and poor access to electricity are found to explain a significant part of the lack of employment growth in MENA firms compared to their peers.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper studies the potential for well-sequenced labor and product market reforms to play a more important role in promoting growth and job creation in Morocco. A Dynamic General Equilibrium model is used to assess the macroeconomic effects of different reform scenarios (isolated, coordinated, or sequenced) that reduce hiring costs and/or firms’ entry costs in the presence of a large informal sector. The paper highlights that reforms are most effective if executed in a coordinated fashion, as implementing simultaneous reforms in the labor and product markets could add about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product growth and reduce unemployment by about 2.2 percentage points after five years. If reforms are to be introduced sequentially, due for instance to capacity or political economy constraints, starting with product market reforms is more effective in boosting output in the short-run while starting with labor market reforms would reduce unemployment faster.