Opportunity for All: Promoting Growth, Jobs, and Inclusiveness in the Arab World

Marrakesh, Morocco  #Opportunity4MENA

January 29-30, 2018

Following up on the 2014 Amman conference "Building the Future: Jobs, Growth, & Fairness in the Arab World,” the Morocco conference aims to move the dial on discussions on inclusive growth in the Arab world from endorsement to execution. Participants from across the region's public, private, and non-official spheres will exchange their experiences and lessons on how to create more jobs by exploiting new sources of growth. They will address how to scale up opportunities for women and youth and promote entrepreneurship and innovation while embracing transparency and technology to unlock the region's potential.

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  • ▶Press Release: Statement by the International Monetary Fund, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and Arab Monetary Fund at the Conclusion of the Conference on Promoting Growth, Jobs, and Inclusiveness in the Arab World, January 30, 2018
  • ▶Press Release: Statement by the IMF Managing Director on Meeting with the Mauritanian Authorities, January 30, 2018
  • ▶Press Release: Statement by IMF Managing Director on Meeting with the Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, January 30, 2018
  • ▶Remarks by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF: "Scaling-up the Inclusive Growth Agenda in the Arab Region," January 30, 2018 

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Agenda - Day 1

Day 1 (Monday, January 29, 2018) is dedicated to Innovation Labs. The objective of these labs is to solicit stakeholders’ experience with impediments to growth and inclusiveness and to brainstorm on possible solutions and policy issues to be raised at the plenary sessions the following day and inform the conference press statement.

1:00 pm

Welcome Remarks


• Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad, Chairman, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
• Jihad Azour, Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, IMF

1:30 pm

Innovation Lab 1: Promoting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Arab World

Chair: Lobna Mohamed Helal, Deputy Governor, Central Bank, Egypt

Moderator/Rapporteur: Manal Wardé, Advocacy and Campaigns Manager, Middle East and North Africa, Oxfam

1:30 pm

Innovation Lab 2: Making Transparency Work for Inclusive Growth

Chair: Pierre Heilbronn, Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Inspirational Speaker: Olfa Shoukri Cherif, Member of Parliament, Tunisia
Moderator/Rapporteur: Sawsan Gharaibeh, Co-founder and Vice Chairperson, Rasheed (Transparency International, Jordan)

3:00 pm

Coffee Break / Innovation Booth – Youth Presentation

3:30 pm

Innovation Lab 3: Creating Opportunities and Institutions in Conflict/Fragility

Chair: Hady Amr, Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution

Inspirational Speaker: Ziad Abdel Samad, Executive Director, Arab NGO Network for Development
Moderator/Rapporteur: Samir Aita, President, Le Cercle des Economistes Arabes

3:30 pm

Innovation Lab 4: Leveraging Technology for Higher Growth and Opportunities

Chair: Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, Governor, Central Bank of Saudi Arabia

Inspirational Speaker: Khalid Alkhudair, Founder and CEO, Glowork.net

Moderator/Rapporteur: Mohamed El Dahshan, Founder, OXCON Frontier markets and Fragile States Consulting

5:00 pm

Coffee Break / Innovation Booth – Youth Presentation

5:30 pm

Presentation of Findings of Innovation Labs

7:00 pm


8:00 pm

Welcome Dinner

Remarks by Abdulrahman A. Al Hamidy, Director General and Chairman of the Board, Arab Monetary Fund, and Presentation of Youth Competition Awards

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Agenda - Day 2

Day 2 (Tuesday, January 30, 2018) features three plenary sessions, a luncheon conversation, and a concluding high-level panel. The objective of these discussions is to share reform experiences, engage on issues raised by the innovation labs to develop views on practical solutions to overcome hurdles to implementation of inclusive growth policies. To encourage greater interaction, innovation booths will showcase young innovators during the coffee breaks.

8:45 am 

Opening Remarks

• Saad Eddine El Otmani, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Morocco
• Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF
• Abdulrahman A. Al-Hamidy, Director General and Chairman of the Board, Arab Monetary Fund


The Road to Higher and More Inclusive Growth in the Middle East And North Africa

9:30 am 

Address: Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister, Tunisia

9:45 am

Plenary 1: Creating Jobs for Millions in the Arab World

Millions of youth will join the labor market over the next five years. This session will discuss “how” countries can generate jobs to absorb these new entrants by tapping into new sources and sectors of growth and how government can be an “enabler” in this process. Potential issues to be discussed include: how small and medium-sized enterprises can flourish on a broader scale; creating MENA’s Silicon Valley; plugging the Arab world into global value chains; revamping education to prepare youth for jobs.

Infographic: Unlocking the Potential of People in MENA



Khalid Alkhudair, Founder and CEO, Glowork.net
Caroline Freund, Director for Trade, Regional Integration, and Investment, World Bank
Nezha Hayat, Head of the Morocco Capital Market Authority and Regional VP of the International Organization of Securities Commission
Marwan Juma, Chairman of the board, Kinz for Information Technology
Ibrahim Manna, Managing Director of Emerging Markets, Careem

Moderator: Lara Habib, Senior Business News Presenter, Al Arabiya

10:55 am

Coffee Break

Innovation Booth – Presentation by Afnan Kamel Ali, Jordan

11:15 am

Plenary 2: Scaling Up Inclusion and Opportunities in the Arab World

The session focuses on how to scale up economic opportunities for youth, women, and refugees—to drive growth and ensure its benefits are widely distributed. Potential issues for discussion include: how can Fintech promote financial access by youth, women and small and medium-sized enterprises; what is needed to empower women and enable their participation in the labor market; how can well-targeted social safety nets protect the vulnerable and empower them; and how can countries in conflict confront the challenges of youth employment and skills development.

Infographic: Enabling Inclusion in MENA 



Hala Fadel, Managing Partner, Leap Ventures
• Janet Heckman, Managing Director for Southern & Eastern Asia, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Lobna Mohamed Helal, Deputy Governor, Central Bank, Egypt
Ashraf Sabry, Founder and CEO, Fawry Mobile Banking, Egypt


Moderator: Faïçal Tadlaoui, Journalist, TV and Radio Host and Producer, Atlantic Radio & Medi1 TV, Morocco

Watch video 

12:30 pm


1:15 pm

Conversation on Arab Women’s Empowerment


Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, President, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee Member/PLC Member
Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, President, Moroccan Confederation of Businesses
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF
Samar Samir Mezghanni, Tunisian Author and Advocate for Youth Empowerment

Watch video  

2:15 pm

Coffee Break 


2:30 pm 

Innovation Booth –  Presentation by Saeed Alfagieh, Yemen 

3:00 pm

Plenary 3: Government as Enabler for Inclusive Growth


This session discusses how governments can re-direct their policies and budgets to foster private sector activity and promote greater inclusiveness. Potential issues for discussion include what governments can do to: prepare youth for work via smarter education spending; build infrastructure for growth and trade; design pro-growth and fair revenue sources; improve transparency and accountability; and ensure adequate social protection.

Infographic: MENA Citizens Want Better Public Services and to Narrow the Gap Between Rich and Poor 



• Manar Al Moneef, CEO, Renewable Energy, MENAT, General Electric, Saudi Arabia
Azza Mohamed Al Suwaidi, Director of Public Revenue, Ministry of Finance, United Arab Emirates
• Ahmed Kouchouk, Vice Minister of Finance, Egypt
 Taoufik Rajhi, Minister of Major Reforms, Tunisia


ModeratorLubna Bouza, Acting Chief Editor, Business News, Sky News Arabia

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4:00 pm

Coffee Break 


Working with MENA to promote inclusive growth 
 – Presentation by METAC (IMF Regional Capacity Development Center)


4:30 pm

Closing Panel: Shared Responsibility for Inclusive Growth



• Abdulrahman A. Al-Hamidy, Director General and Chairman of the Board, Arab Monetary Fund
• Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel, Governor, Central Bank of Kuwait
• Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Economy and Finance, Morocco
• Fadi Ghandour, Executive Chairman, Wamda Group

ModeratorChristine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF

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8:00 pm
Closing Dinner and Cultural Show

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