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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.

Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa and Mr. Arvind Subramanian
The popular impression that Africa has not integrated into world trade, as suggested by the evolution in simple indicators, has been called into question recently by more formal analysis. This paper refines and generalizes this analysis, but lends support to the popular view of disintegration. Africa, especially Francophone Africa, is currently under-exploiting its trading opportunities and has witnessed disintegration over time, a trend that is most pronounced in its trade with the technologically advanced countries.
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.