Institutions and Economic Growth in the Arab Countries

IMF - Arab Monetary Fund High Level Seminar
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
December 19–20, 2006

"I would suggest that the rate at which countries grow is substantially determined by three things: their ability to integrate with the global economy through trade and investment; their capacity to maintain sustainable government finances and sound money; and their ability to put in place an institutional environment in which contracts can be enforced and property rights can be established. I would challenge anyone to identify a country that has done all three of these things and has not grown at a substantial rate." Larry Summers (2003)

The IMF and the Arab Monetary Fund organized a High Level Seminar on "Institutions and Economic Growth in the Arab Countries" under the joint IMF/AMF Regional Training Program. The seminar took place on December 19-20, 2006 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The event brought together ministers, central bank governors, as well as other high ranking policymakers and economists from the region and around the globe. They discussed how to design policies that would enhance the quality of governance and help build better institutions to foster greater global economic integration, and help ensure sustained high-quality growth conducive to employment creation and rising living standards for the countries in the region.

The seminar was by invitation only.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the authors only, and the presence of them, or of links to them, on the IMF website does not imply that the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management endorses or shares the views expressed in the papers.


Tuesday, December 19
  Session Subject
09:00 a.m.–09:30 a.m.  

Opening Session

H.E. Dr. Mohamed Khalfan Bin Khirbash,
Minister of State for Finance & Industry, UAE

H.E. Dr. Jassim Al Mannai,
Director General Chairman of the Board, AMF

Opening Remarks by H. E. Mr. Takatoshi Kato,
Deputy Managing Director, IMF

09:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.  

Coffee Break

10:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.  

Keynote Address: Institutional Reform for Economic Growth in the Arab Countries
H.E. Dr. Mustapha Nabli, Chief Economist and Sector Director, WB

10:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m. I Governance and Institutions in the Arab World

: H.E. Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist, Dubai International Financial Center


The Governance Gap in the Arab Countries: What Does the Data Say?
Mr. Daniel Kaufmann
, Director, Global Program, WB

The Origin of the Governance Gap in the Middle East
Mr. Tarik Yousef
, Dean, Dubai School of Government

Discussant: Mr. Marcus Noland, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m.   Lunch
Tuesday, December 19 (Continued)
  Session Subject
2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. II Governance and Economic Growth in the Arab Countries: Macroeconomic Evidence

: Mr. Saud Al Braikan, Director, Economic Policy Institute, AMF


Growth in the Middle East and North Africa
Ms. Dalia Hakura
, Senior Economist, IMF

Discussant: Mr. Yasser Abdih, Economist, IMF

The Impact of Large Governments on Development and Growth in the MENA Region
Mr. Robert Beschel, Lead Public Sector Specialist, WB

Discussant: Mr. Ali Bolbol, Division Chief, AMF
4:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.   Coffee Break
4:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m. III The Impact of Governance on Economic Growth in the Arab Countries: Microeconomic and Sectoral Effects

Chair: H.E. Dr. George Corm, Former Minister of Finance, Lebanon


Establishing a Successful One Stop Shop: The Case of Egypt
Mr. Andrew Stone
, Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, WB

Curbing the Size of the Public Sector: The Case of the Voluntary Retirement Program in Morocco
Mr. Khalid El Massnaoui, Senior Economist, WB

Discussant: Mr. Salem Al Ismaily, Executive Director, Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development

Corporate Governance and Concentration in the Arab Banking Sector and Economic Growth: The Case of GCC Countries
Mr. Ibrahim Karasneh, Economist, AMF

Discussant: Mr. Riad Al Dugaither, Vice President, Arab Banking Corporation
8:00 p.m.   Dinner
Wednesday, December 20
  Session Subject
09:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. IV Making Institutions Work for Economic Growth in the Arab Countries: Reform Avenues and their Implementation

Chair: Mr. Mohsin Khan, Director, Middle East & Central Asia Department, IMF


Implementing Governance Reforms
H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Minister of Investment, Egypt

Corporate and Regulatory Governance Reforms
H.E. Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist, Dubai International Financial Center

Discussant: Mr. Sami Geadah, Coordinator, Middle East Technical Assistance Center

Political and National Governance Reforms
Mr. Hazem El Beblawi, Advisor, AMF

Discussant: Mr. Fawzi Al Sultan, Consultant, Kuwait
11:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.   Coffee Break
11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. V Panel Discussion:

Chair: Mr. Leslie Lipschitz, Director, IMF Institute


Mr. George Abed, Governor, Palestinian Monetary Authority

Mr. Daniel Kaufmann, Director, Global Program, WB

Mr. Marcus Noland, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Mr. Fawzi Al Sultan, Consultant, Kuwait
1:00 p.m.   Lunch