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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This Selected Issues paper assesses the importance of oil and interest rate spillovers for Saudi Arabia. Oil prices have fallen by more than 40 percent since mid-2014 while the Federal Reserve is expected in the coming months to begin raising its policy rate at the beginning of a gradual tightening cycle. Given the importance of oil to the economy and the peg of the riyal to the U.S. dollar, these are two key developments for Saudi Arabia. Although a temporary drop in oil prices would likely have little effect on the economy and banks given the financial cushions that have been built-up, a longer-lasting period of low oil prices would have a more significant impact.

Ms. Dalia S Hakura
This paper analyzes the weak growth performance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during 1980-2000 using an empirical model of long-run growth. The relative importance of the factors affecting growth is shown to vary across 16 MENA countries. In GCC countries, where oil revenues are significant, large governments appear to have been a key factor stifling private-sector growth and impeding diversification. In other MENA countries poor institutional quality has held back growth. Political instability is also shown to have played a role. While the MENA region's growth differential with east Asia is explained well in the 1980s, this is less so in the 1990s.
Mr. George T. Abed and Mr. Hamid R Davoodi

Abstract

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an economically diverse region. Despite undertaking economic reforms in many countries, and having considerable success in avoiding crises and achieving macroeconomic stability, the region’s economic performance in the past 30 years has been below potential. This paper takes stock of the region’s relatively weak performance, explores the reasons for this out come, and proposes an agenda for urgent reforms.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper reviews the exchange regimes of five emerging market countries in the Middle East and North Africa region-Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia-and one oil-exporting country-Iran-to see whether they need to consider adopting more flexible arrangements as they further open their economies to trade and capital flows.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper analyzes why the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has lagged in growth and globalization. Despite attempts to spur recovery and initiate structural reforms, many countries in the region remain on a slow growth path, effectively sidelined from globalization and the benefits of closer economic integration with the rest of the world. The benefits from oil failed to generate a sustained growth dynamic or bring about greater regional economic integration. The paper highlights that the slowdown in economic reforms is a key factor for the economic depression in the MENA region.
George T. Abed

This paper analyzes why the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has lagged in growth and globalization. Despite attempts to spur recovery and initiate structural reforms, many countries in the region remain on a slow growth path, effectively sidelined from globalization and the benefits of closer economic integration with the rest of the world. The benefits from oil failed to generate a sustained growth dynamic or bring about greater regional economic integration. The paper highlights that the slowdown in economic reforms is a key factor for the economic depression in the MENA region.

Abstract

This book brings together recent IMF research on how the Middle East and North African countries are grappling with various macroeconomic challenges. It rigorously analyzes policy alternatives for a range of relevant topics, including the implications of changing demographic trends for growth and unemployment, determinants of inflation, financial-sector reform and Islamic banking, fiscal sustainability in oil-dependent economies, exchange rate and trade arrangements, and impediments to foreign direct investment. The book’s overall theme-self-sustaining and faster growth can be achieved through comprehensive structural reforms and closer collaboration between the region’s policymakers and the international community.

Ms. Rina Bhattacharya, Tarik Yousef, and Mr. Pierre Dhonte
The working age population is expected to grow faster in the Middle East than in any other region in the world between now and 2015—rising annually by 2.7 percent, or 10 million people. This demographic explosion presents the region with a major challenge in terms of providing jobs, incomes, and housing for the growing population, but the expanding labor force can also be seen as an opportunity to generate higher per capita income growth on a sustainable basis. The paper concludes by emphasizing the importance of market-friendly institutions in turning the challenge into opportunity.
Ms. Sena Eken, Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Ms. Susan Fennell, and Mr. Jean-Pierre Chauffour

Abstract

This paper provides an economic overview of the very diverse countries within the large geographical area. It highlights the economic challenges and opportunities facing the MENA region, the policies pursued by the countries in the region, and the outlook for the external environment. The paper concludes with eight policy recommendations.