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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Finance and Development, December 2015

Mr. George T. Abed and Mr. Hamid R Davoodi


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an economically diverse region that includes countries with a common heritage, vastly different levels of per capita income, and a common set of challenges (see Box 1). Historically, dependence on oil wealth in many countries and a legacy of central planning in other countries have played major roles in shaping the region’s development strategies.

Mr. George T. Abed and Mr. Hamid R Davoodi


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an economically diverse region. Despite undertaking economic reforms in many countries, and having considerable success in avoiding crises and achieving macroeconomic stability, the region’s economic performance in the past 30 years has been below potential. This paper takes stock of the region’s relatively weak performance, explores the reasons for this out come, and proposes an agenda for urgent reforms.

Roberto Cuca

What is the contribution of these programs to declining fertility? Using data for 63 developing countries, the author reviews some factors associated with their experience of falling birthrates and discusses the implications for policymakers.


In the growth literature, evidence on convergence of per capita incomes is mixed. In the development literature, health and education indicators are often used to measure countries’ development progress. This study examines whether average stocks of health and education are converging across countries and calculates the speed of their convergence using data from 84 countries for 1970–90. A three–stage least–squares (3SLS) procedure is used in a joint analysis of human capital convergence. The results confirm that investments in education and health are closely linked. The study finds unconditional convergence for life expectancy and infant survival, and for the stock of education as measured by average levels of total and secondary schooling in the adult population.

International Monetary Fund
This paper highlights the detailed assessment report on antimoney laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The AML law needs to be amended to expand the range of predicate offences and to provide greater powers for the financial intelligence unit. The authorities have taken positive initiatives to address the issue of Hawala dealers, and have introduced a voluntary system of registration and reporting. The central bank intends progressively to formalize its oversight regime for this sector.
Lynge Nielsen
The paper analyzes how the UNDP, the World Bank, and the IMF classify countries based on their level of development. These systems are found lacking in clarity with regard to their underlying rationale. The paper argues that a country classification system based on a transparent, data-driven methodology is preferable to one based on judgment or ad hoc rules. Such an alternative methodology is developed and used to construct classification systems using a variety of proxies for development attainment.