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Regional Conference

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Building the Future:
Jobs, Growth, & Fairness in the Arab World

Government of Jordan
Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
International Monetary Fund

Agenda in PDF

May 11–12, 2014 — Amman, Jordan — Hotel Intercontinental

Three years have passed since the onset of fundamental economic and political transitions in many countries in the Arab world. The transitions began with great ambition but, so far, progress has been limited in generating the strong and inclusive growth needed to reduce unemployment and raise standards of living. Hosted by Prime Minister of Jordan Abdullah Ensour, Director General Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the conference will provide an opportunity for a regional policy dialogue among high-level policymakers, leading private and public sector executives, development partners, civil society representatives, and academics, on the main elements of an economic vision, including by drawing lessons from similar episodes of fundamental economic transformation in other parts of the world.

The conference is designed to encourage broad interaction among delegates.

On Day 1, a first set of two parallel Thematic Sessions will explore (1) macroeconomic policy priorities and (2) transparency and governance issues. These will be followed by a second set of parallel Thematic Sessions that will focus on (1) tackling unemployment and (2) improving the business climate. The sessions will be chaired by high-level policymakers, where speakers from the Arab region and beyond will explore challenges and opportunities. Rapporteurs will present the key recommendations emanating from these sessions for discussion by Ministers and Governors from the region during two Plenaries on the following day.

At the end of each of the thematic sessions, participants were asked to pick their three top policy priorities among some of the ideas generated during the discussion. The results were generated through an electronic voting mechanism. Not all of the diverse views expressed could be captured among the policy options presented in the slides.

On Day 2, the conference will be opened by a panel including the Prime Minister of Jordan, the Director General of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and the IMF Managing Director, followed by High-Level Plenaries and Closing Remarks.



Day 1: Sunday, May 11

(Note: Thematic Sessions are closed to the Press)

May 10: 2pm-6pm
May 11: 8am-5pm
May 12: 8am-12pm

Next to Al-Mukhtar Hall


Security arrangements require that each registrant appears personally to receive their badge. Proof of identity, for example, passport of other means of photographic identification, must be shown to obtain the badge.

12:00 – 1:30pm

Informal Luncheon

1:30 – 1:45pm

Welcome and Introduction

Ziad Fariz, Governor and Chairman of the Board, Central Bank of Jordan
Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad, Director General, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
Masood Ahmed, Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund

2:00 – 3:30pm
Al-Mukhtar 1

Thematic Session 1

Implementing Macroeconomic Policies to Maintain Stability and Support Inclusive Growth
A well-designed package of macroeconomic policies is critical not only to maintaining economic stability but also and generating strong and sustainable job creation, which is needed to meet the aspirations of the Arab Countries in Transition (ACTs). This session will discuss the key elements of this package, identify policy priorities, and discuss implementation challenges in the ACTs’ complex socio-political environment.

Chair: Hakim Ben Hammouda, Minister of Finance, Tunisia


Moncef Cheikh-Rouhou, Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the National Constituent Assembly, Tunisia
Tomasz Skurzewski, Acting Director, International Department, Ministry of Finance, Poland
György Surányi, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Central European International Bank, Ltd

Rapporteur: Nasser Saidi, President, Nasser Saidi & Associates

2:00 – 3:30pm

Thematic Session 2

Strengthening Transparency and Good Governance
Greater transparency and accountability are fundamental aspirations of the Arab Countries in Transition; they are also important to promote higher and more inclusive growth. Good rules matter, but implementation is key: in Arab countries, Enterprise Surveys carried out by the World Bank show that close to 60 percent of business managers do not believe that the rules and regulations affecting their business activities are applied consistently and predictably. This session will identify key reforms to strengthen transparency and good governance in the public and the private sector, and discuss ways of overcoming obstacles to their implementation.

Chair: Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Finance, Morocco


William Danvers, Deputy Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Peter Eigen, Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Transparency International
Mustafa Nasr, Chairman, Studies and Economic Media Center, Yemen

Rapporteur: Alaa Murabit, Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women

3:30 – 4:00pm
Foyer Area

Coffee Break

4:00 – 5:30pm
Al-Mukhtar 1

Thematic Session 3

Bringing Young People into the Labor Market
Unemployment in the Arab Countries in Transition, at 13 percent on average and nearly double that for youth, ranks highest in the world. This session will explore steps that can be taken to promote private sector employment, focusing on how to reform educations systems, labor market policies, and the business climate to create good jobs faster, especially for young people.

Chair: Hani Dimian, Minister of Finance, Egypt


Nada al-Nashif, Director, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Regional Office for Arab States and ILO Assistant Director-General
Juan Luis Gimeno Chocarro, Economic Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Employment and Social Security, Spain
Jamel Zarrouk, Chief Economist, Islamic Development Bank

Rapporteur: Tarik Yousef, Chief Executive Officer, Silatech, Qatar

4:00 – 5:30pm
Al-Badiya 1

Thematic Session 4

Improving the Business Climate
Even before the onset of the transitions across the region, private investment in the Arab Countries in Transition lacked the dynamism observed in other regions. Today, there still are too few small and medium-sized enterprises that are critical for job creation, firms tend to be less productive than elsewhere, and foreign investment is lagging. This session will explore key areas of reform that could help improve the business climate, highlighting the role of an effective regulatory environment for firms, adequate access to finance, and supportive public infrastructure.

Chair: Saddek El Kaber, Central Bank Governor, Libya


Erik Berglöf, Chief Economist and Special Adviser to the President, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Shantayanan Devarajan, Chief Economist, World Bank Middle East and North Africa Region
Hani Sarie-Eldin, Founder and Managing Partner, Sarie Eldin & Partners, Egypt

Rapporteur: Kamal Hassan, Founder and President, Innovation 360 Institute, United Arab Emirates

8:00 – 9:30pm
8:30 – 9:30 pm


Day 2: Monday, May 12

 (Note: All sessions are open to the Press)

9:00 – 10:00am

Opening Panel

The Economic Transitions in the Arab World: What Are Today’s Challenges?
Policymakers in many Arab countries in transition—Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen—face the complex challenge of maintaining macroeconomic stability amid strong pressures to meet long-frustrated and growing social demands. Moreover, sustainable development will not be possible without a shift away from the economic models and priorities of the past. This session will take stock of where the political and economic transitions stand almost three years after the start of the uprising and discuss reforms that could quickly make a positive difference to the people in the region and thus induce hope.


Abdullah Ensour, Prime Minister of Jordan
Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad, Director General, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

Moderator: Lubna Bouza, Business News Anchor, CNBC Arabia

10 – 10: 30 am
Foyer Area

Coffee Break

10:30 – 11:45am

Plenary 1

Rapporteurs will present the key recommendations from Thematic Sessions 1 and 2 for discussion by high-level representatives from the MENA region.


Jordan:       Ziad Fariz, Central Bank Governor and Chairman of the Board
Libya:          Saddek El Kaber, Central Bank Governor
Morocco:   Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Finance
Tunisia:      Chedly Ayari, Central Bank Governor
Yemen:       Sakhr Ahmed Al-Wajeeh, Minister of Finance

Moderator:  Mina Al Oraibi, Assistant Editor-in Chief, Asharq Al-Awsat

12:00 – 1:30pm


1:30 – 2:45pm

Plenary 2

Rapporteurs will present the key recommendations from Thematic Sessions 3 and 4 for discussion by high-level representatives from the MENA region.


Jordan:        Umayya Toukan, Minister of Finance
Libya:           Saddek El Kaber, Central Bank Governor
Morocco:    Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Finance
Tunisia:       Hakim Ben Hammouda, Minister of Finance
Yemen:        Mohammed Saeed Al-Sa’adi, Minister of Planning

Moderator:  Malak Fares, Business Presenter, Sky News Arabia

3:00 – 3:30pm

Closing Remarks

Umayya Toukan, Minister of Finance of Jordan
Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad, Director General, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
Christine Lagarde
, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund