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.
This Selected Issues paper aims at discussing the impact of the oil windfall on Chad, with a focus on growth, poverty, competitiveness, and fiscal policy challenges posed by the oil revenue outlook. The paper discusses the reforms needed to remove structural factors that constraints the non-oil sector growth, in particular on civil and military services and the microfinance sector. The paper argues that Chad’s current growth potential is seriously limited by low levels of both human and physical capitals and by weak institutions and governance.
A major portion of sub-Saharan Africa’s foreign exchange earnings are devoted to the procurement of petroleum. This situation could be ameliorated: a revamping of policies and practices in hydrocarbons procurement and distribution could yield savings in the region of an amount significantly greater than yearly net disbursements of World Bank loans and credits to all the continent combined.
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.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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The economy of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has continued to strengthen in 1997, notwithstanding particularly difficult situations in certain individual economies.1 Annual economic growth has been in the 4 percent range, resulting in a second consecutive year of much needed positive per capita income growth. Financial conditions have continued to improve as reflected in lower inflation, higher foreign exchange reserves, and a more manageable debt burden.
As recognized by governments throughout the region, sustaining a high rate of growth is the primary economic challenge facing the MENA economies. This is needed to enhance national prosperity, reduce unemployment in non-oil economies of the region, and generate jobs for the growing number of young people joining the labor force.
Full development of the economic potential of the region has in the past been constrained by macroeconomic instability and serious structural impediments.3 With several countries having achieved significant improvements in their macroeconomic positions, emphasis is now firmly being placed on eliminating structural impediments that have undermined investment and factor productivity gains. These impediments have also distorted the region’s interlinkages with the rapidly globalizing world economy while limiting the beneficial spillover effects domestically of the economic and financial improvements.
This Selected Issues paper on Bolivia reports that it has experienced major increases in its gas reserves, production, and exports. Not only have their levels increased significantly, but also there have been extensive regulatory changes, which range from the privatization of the mid-1990s to the increase in the government’s tax take from the hydrocarbons industry. The government has reached new agreements with foreign oil companies that will allow foreign companies to continue recovering part of their old investments.
How much does speculation contribute to oil price volatility? We revisit this contentious question by estimating a sign-restricted structural vector autoregression (SVAR). First, using a simple storage model, we show that revisions to expectations regarding oil market fundamentals and the effect of mispricing in oil derivative markets can be observationally equivalent in a SVAR model of the world oil market à la Kilian and Murphy (2013), since both imply a positive co-movement of oil prices and inventories. Second, we impose additional restrictions on the set of admissible models embodying the assumption that the impact from noise trading shocks in oil derivative markets is temporary. Our additional restrictions effectively put a bound on the contribution of speculation to short-term oil price volatility (lying between 3 and 22 percent). This estimated short-run impact is smaller than that of flow demand shocks but possibly larger than that of flow supply shocks.