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Mr. Christopher J. Jarvis, Ms. Gaelle Pierre, Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Dominique Fayad, Alexander de Keyserling, Mr. Babacar Sarr, and Mariusz A. Sumlinski
This IMF Departmental Paper presents the key areas in which countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucasus and Central Asia (MECA) can enhance governance and fight corruption to achieve their economic policy goals. It draws on advances that have already taken hold in the region.
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Growth in the near term remains subdued for oil exporters in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region, amid volatile oil prices, precarious global growth, elevated fiscal vulnerabilities, and heightened geopolitical tensions. In addition, declining productivity is dampening medium-term growth prospects. To reduce dependence on oil prices and pave the way for more sustainable growth, fiscal consolidation needs to resume, underpinned by improved medium-term fiscal frameworks. In parallel, structural reforms and further financial sector development would boost foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic private investment and foster diversification, thus contributing to improved productivity and potential growth.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

As in other regions in the world, countries in MENAP and CCA regions are exposed to tightening in global financing conditions and ongoing global trade tensions. The former has already begun to impact several emerging market economies in MENAP and could have more severe implications should financial market sentiment suddenly deteriorate. Escalating global trade tensions will have a limited direct and immediate impact on these regions but could impart significant strains over time through negative effects on trading partners and through market confidence effects.

Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa and Mr. Christoph Duenwald
Analysis of policies for managing public sector wage bills in the Middle East and Central Asia region. While some work has been done recently at the Fund on issues related to government employment and compensation, to our knowledge, this is the first study to systematically examine, with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia region, the recent trends and drivers of public wage bills in the region and to identify key policy implications.

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. Maria-Angels Oliva
This paper studies the structure and evolution of trade protection in the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries in the 1990s. MENA countries use tariffs and nontariff barriers, and tariff dispersion and nontariff barriers, as substitute protection measures. Tariff levels and tariff dispersion are complements. Excluding Tunisia, the cross-country correlation between tariff and nontariff barriers is -0.46. The correlation between tariff dispersion and nontariff barriers is -0.8. The paper also develops an overall index of trade protection and finds that tariff levels, their dispersion, and nontariff barriers account for 60 percent, 10 percent, and 30 percent of overall protection, respectively.
Ms. Patricia Alonso-Gamo
Globalization—the intensification of international trade and finance linkages underpinned by economic liberalization and technological change—presents both challenges and opportunities to Arab countries. After reviewing this region’s disappointing performance in integration and growth, this paper analyzes the empirical relationship between the two and concludes that integration is necessary if high growth rates are to be attained and the region is not to become marginalized. It then identifies the main obstacles to the integration of Arab countries into the world economy and reviews recent progress in overcoming them. On this basis, the paper derives some policy prescriptions.