Coverage. The MENA region is defined to encompass the economies of the Arab League (Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Yemen), as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran and Israel.11 The region possesses abundant natural resources and, on average, enjoys a reasonable standard of living. However, individual countries exhibit a broad diversity of characteristics. They vary substantially in natural resources, economic and geographical size, population, and standards of living.
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.
This volume comprises two separate papers on key structural aspects of the reform process in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The first paper addresses issues related to financial intermediation and reform in the context of the evolving economic environment in the GCC countries. The second discusses the labor market challenges and policy issues in the GCC countries and their implications for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
This paper presents an overview of the unprecedented economic and social transformation witnessed by the member countries of the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)-Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates-over the last three decades.