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Mishel Ghassibe, Maximiliano Appendino, and Samir Elsadek Mahmoudi
This paper offers empirical evidence that greater financial inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can promote higher economic growth and employment, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. First, we show that countries with higher SME financial inclusion exhibit more effective monetary policy transmission and tax collection. Second, we find substantial employment and labor productivity growth gains at the firm level from access to credit, gains that are higher for SMEs. We also obtain evidence of a substantial positive impact on SME employment and labor productivity growth from improved credit bureau coverage and insolvency regimes. Finally, cross-country aggregate evidence confirms the employment and growth gains from SME financial inclusion, which appear larger in the Middle East and Central Asia than in other regions.
Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Carolin Geginat, and Ms. Gaelle Pierre
This paper examines the extent to which firms in selected MENA countries reported being constrained by the business environment around the time of the Arab Spring and the extent to which these constraints affected their employment performance. The results suggest that small firms in MENA faced more structural constraints than similar firms in other regions. We also find that MENA firms’ weaker job creation can be explained in great part by the macroeconomic environment and structural constraints. Low GDP growth, falling external competitiveness, corruption, lack of access to finance and poor access to electricity are found to explain a significant part of the lack of employment growth in MENA firms compared to their peers.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper investigates the macroeconomic impact of the Syria crisis on Jordan. It is indicated that the crisis: (1) had an overall negative impact on measured output growth—although anecdotal evidence suggests possibly a positive impact on output in the informal sector; (2) contributed to inflationary pressures, particularly on rents; and (3) strained labor markets, mostly in the informal sector as refugees compete with locals for jobs. Although the crisis has put a strain on the external trade balance, the overall impact on the current account is not clear.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This chapter reviews developments in GDP over the past several decades. The analysis shows that accumulation of labor and capital explains the bulk of overall output growth since 1990, with changes in total factor productivity playing only a minor role. Moreover, while increases in total factor productivity (TFP) during 1990-2009 have been close to the worldwide average, the pace of TFP growth fell during the 2000s. This suggests scope for increasing the efficiency of factor markets and highlights the importance of recent reforms to promote knowledge-based activity.