This paper presents perhaps the most viable approach for the design of an instrument of government finance (and monetary management) in an Islamic economy where conventional transactions based on an ex-ante promise of a risk-free rate of return are forbidden. Resources to finance government infrastructural and development projects can be mobilized by issuing a national participation paper and this instrument can also serve as an instrument of monetary management. The paper discusses various conceptional issues underpinning the introduction of such an instrument and methods of calculating a corresponding rate of return. In principle, this approach has been accepted by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The economy of the Middle East and North Africa improved considerably in 1996, and remained favorable in 1997. This paper, by Mohamed A. El-Erian and Susan Fennell, presents an assessment of the recent experience of the MENA economies and examines prospects for 1998 and beyond.