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  • Bahrain, Kingdom of x
  • Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth x
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Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, Mr. Oral Williams, and Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad
We investigate the extent of regional financial integration in the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The limited volume data available suggests that regional integration is non-negligible. Bahrain and Kuwait investments especially are oriented towards the region. The development of stock markets in the region will also improve the extent of financial integration. Interest rate data shows that convergence exists and that interest rate differentials are relatively short-lived-especially compared to the ECCU, another emerging market region sharing a common currency. Equities data using cross-listed stocks confirms that stock markets are fairly integrated compared to other emerging market regions, although financial integration is hampered by market illiquidity.
Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov
A key priority for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is to create a dynamic non-oil tradable sector to support sustainable growth. Since export diversification takes a long time, it has to start now. We argue that the failure to diversify away from oil stems mainly from market failures rather than government failures. To tackle market failures, the government needs to change the incentive structure for workers and firms. Experiences of oil exporters that managed to diversify suggest that a focus on competing in international markets and an emphasis on technological upgrade and climbing the “quality ladder” are crucial.
Patrick A. Imam and Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
This paper investigates the determinants of the pattern of Islamic bank diffusion around the world using country-level data for 1992 - 2006. The analysis illustrates that income per capita, share of Muslims in the population and status as an oil producer are linked to the development of Islamic banking, as are economic integration with Middle Eastern countries and proximity to Islamic financial centers. Interest rates have a negative impact on Islamic banking, reflecting the implicit benchmark for Islamic banks. The quality of institutions does not matter, probably because the often higher hurdle set by Shariah law trumps the quality of local institutions in most countries. The 9/11 attacks were not important to the diffusion of Islamic banking; but they coincided with rising oil prices, which are a significant factor in the diffusion of Islamic banking. Islamic banks also appear to be complements to, rather than substitutes for, conventional banks.
International Monetary Fund
This paper provides a summary of the IMF and the World Bank work programs on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism following the Fund and Bank Boards' decisions in March 2004 to endorse the revised FATF standard (2003 version) and methodology for the purposes of preparing ROSCs and to expand the areas of Bank/Fund responsibility to cover the revised FATF standard comprehensively. It draws lessons on what has worked well and the challenges and discusses the work program going forward.
International Monetary Fund
countries face similar challenges to create jobs and foster more inclusive growth. The current environment of likely durable low oil prices has exacerbated these challenges. The non-oil private sector remains relatively small and, consequently, has been only a limited source of growth and employment. Because oil is an exhaustible resource, new sectors need to be developed so they can take over as the oil and gas industry dwindles. Over-reliance on oil also exacerbates macroeconomic volatility. Greater economic diversification would unlock job-creating growth, increase resilience to oil price volatility and improve prospects for future generations. Macro-economic stability and supportive regulatory and institutional frameworks are key prerequisites for economic diversification...
Mr. Tim Callen, Reda Cherif, Fuad Hasanov, Mr. Amgad Hegazy, and Padamja Khandelwal
Abstract: The economies of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are heavily reliant on oil. Greater economic diversification would reduce their exposure to volatility and uncertainty in the global oil market, help create jobs in the private sector, increase productivity and sustainable growth, and help create the non-oil economy that will be needed in the future when oil revenues start to dwindle. The GCC countries have followed many of the standard policies that are usually thought to promote more diversified economies, including reforms to improve the business climate, the development of domestic infrastructure, financial deepening, and improvements in education. Nevertheless, success to date has been limited. This paper argues that increased diversification will require realigning incentives for firms and workers in the economies—fixing these incentives is the “missing link” in the GCC countries’ diversification strategies. At present, producing non-tradables is less risky and more profitable for firms as they can benefit from the easy availability of low-wage foreign labor and the rapid growth in government spending, while the continued availability of high-paying and secure public sector jobs discourages nationals from pursuing entrepreneurship and private sector employment. Measures to begin to address these incentive issues could include limiting and reorienting government spending, strengthening private sector competition, providing guarantees and financial support for those firms engaged in export activity, and implementing labor market reforms to make nationals more competitive for private sector employment.