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Jean-François Ruhashyankiko
This paper explores the link between exchange rate volatility of European currencies and economic performance of several countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The elimination of intra euro-zone exchange rate volatility resulting from the introduction of the euro is estimated to affect the production structure of MENA economies and shift their exports from manufacturing to agriculture and services. At the country and industry levels, the impact of the euro is more striking in countries with higher shares of manufacturing and higher shares of exports to the euro zone.
Mr. Henri C. Ghesquière
By establishing free trade for industrial products in 12 years, the European Union’s Association Agreements with countries in the Mediterranean region seek to promote accelerated economic growth. This paper reviews the literature and evaluates the economic benefits and costs for Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. It concludes that the benefits could be substantial, but only if accompanied by deep supplementary reforms, including extending trade liberalization to services and agriculture and on a multilateral basis, improving the environment for foreign direct investment, ensuring an adequate fiscal and exchange rate policy response, and strengthening European Union assistance.
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.
Mr. Stanley Fischer and Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian
The paper analyzes the scope and implications of greater economic integration in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). After reviewing whether MENA satisfies the defining characteristics of a region, it documents the low level of regional economic interaction. It argues that gains from greater regional interactions will depend primarily on implementing domestic reform and external policies that, in any case, are needed for the region to benefit from the broader process of globalization of the world economy. It also discusses measures aimed directly at facilitating regional interaction.
Uwe Eiteljörge and Mr. Clinton R. Shiells
This paper attempts to assess the incremental external financing requirements occasioned by changes in world food prices, due to implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, for a sample of 57 developing countries. Based on estimates of changes in food prices due to the Round obtained in previous studies, and on detailed data on food trade by country and commodity, the present study shows that the increase in net food import costs are likely to be smaller than 4 percent of net food imports over a period of six years for the countries considered, although for some of the larger trading nations the effect may exceed US$10 million.