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Conference Partners

IMF Survey Story: Gulf Economies Should Diversify to Sustain Strong Future Growth
IMF Working Paper: “Soaring of the Gulf Falcons.”

Conference Information

Conference organizers

Reda Cherif (IMF, Institute for Capacity Development)

Fuad Hasanov (IMF, Middle East and Central Asia Department)

Conference coordinators

Alia Al-Duaij (IMF, Center for Economics and Finance)

Muhannad Darwish (IMF, Center for Economics and Finance)

Sarah Knight (IMF, Middle East and Central Asia Department)


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Economic Development, Diversification,
and the Role of the State

A High-Level Conference by the IMF and the Ministry of Finance, Kuwait City, Kuwait

April 30-May 1, 2014

Conference Photos

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April 30, 2014


Opening Remarks

Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director (IMF)

H.E. Anas Al-Saleh, Minister of Finance of Kuwait

Open to the media

Session 1: Diversification in the GCC Oil Exporters - Past Attempts and Current Endeavors
Chair: Alfred Kammer, Deputy Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department (IMF)


Soaring of the Gulf Falcons: Diversification in the GCC Oil Exporters in Seven Propositions

Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov (IMF)

The presentation will explore the economic model and performance of the GCC countries, oil exporters’' experience and hurdles in diversifying away from oil, the need for the GCC to develop the tradable sector and exports, and elements of a successful strategy.


Development Strategies in MENA Oil Exporters: The Past and the Present

Clement Henry, Professor and Chair (American University of Cairo)

The presentation will discuss the dilemmas of diversification, including the role of the government, in hydrocarbon-based economies, analyzing a spectrum of strategies ranging from Algeria to Dubai, and implications for today's oil exporters.


Coffee break


Dubai on the Path of Diversification

Mohamed Lahouel, Chief Economist (Dubai Department of Economic Development)

The presentation will provide an in-depth look into Dubai's development model and diversification experience in the tradable sector and non-oil exports and how the government has contributed to it, what succeeded and what failed, and a way forward.


Social Development in the Gulf States

Huck-ju Kwon, Professor (Seoul National University and Harvard University, Visiting Scholar)

The presentation will focus on policies to spur social development in the Gulf states toward creating a more productive labor force, and means and ways to improve citizens' potential through a program such as Korea's Saemaul Undong.


Panel with session speakers


Lunch with a speech by Min Zhu

Session 2: Industry, Education and Finance Policies to Support Diversification

Chair: Sharmini Coorey, Director of the Institute for Capacity Development (IMF)


Going Beyond Comparative Advantage: How Singapore Made It

Philip Yeo, Chairman (SPRING Singapore, Development Agency of the Government of Singapore)

The presentation will discuss from a policymaker’'s perspective diversification strategies to promote the tradable industries and exports using the development model of Singapore, which strategies succeeded and which failed, the role of the state, and lessons for oil exporters today.


Education and Skills Creation: Lessons for the GCC from International Experience

Philippe Aghion, Professor (Harvard University)

The presentation will explore education policies to improve the quality of education to support development in the GCC based on the experience of best performers like Finland, and how countries with low quality education and lack of incentives to study can improve their education system and encourage students to learn and excel.


The Role of Finance in the Diversification of Industrial Base

Iftekhar Hasan, Professor (Fordham University and Central Bank of Finland)

The presentation will analyze how diversification is beneficial to economic welfare. Using both global and regional evidence, it will discuss how development banks and other vehicles of financing could support industrialization and risk-taking, and how the government can act as a venture capitalist.


Coffee Break


Panel with session speakers



May 1, 2014

Session 3: Lessons for Diversification from Asia and Latin America

Chair: Tim Callen, Chief of the GCC Division of the Middle East and Central Asia Department (IMF)


Malaysia, Oil and Diversification: A View from the Inside

Ahmad Tajuddin, Chairman (UEM Group Berhad and Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology, Malaysia)

The presentation will provide a policymaker’'s view of diversification strategies used to promote the tradable sector and exports in Malaysia, which strategies succeeded and which failed, the role the state played, and lessons for oil exporters.


Lessons from Korean Industrialization for Oil Exporters

Meredith Woo, Professor and Dean (University of Virginia)

The presentation will explore specific lessons from the Korean economic development that propelled it to the advanced country status, successful and failed policies and how they were implemented, and the relevance of the Korean experience to today’'s oil exporters.


Coffee Break


Economic Diversification in Latin American Oil and Commodity Producers and Key Lessons

Jose Miguel Benavente, Professor (Universidad de Chile and Inter-American Development Bank)

The presentation will discuss the past experience at diversification in Latin American oil/mineral exporters contrasting them with agricultural exporters, policies pursued, including macro-fiscal management, and takeaways for oil exporters.


BNDES: The Role of the Development Bank in Brazil’'s Industrialization

Julio Ramundo, Managing Director (BNDES, Brazilian Development Bank)

The presentation will analyze the role of BNDES in Brazil’'s development, strategies it employed, which worked and which did not, how to continue to provide financial support to firms and when to cut it, how to pick industries and firms to promote tradables and exports, and its perspective on developing multinational corporations.


Coffee Break


Panel with session speakers

Session 4: Closing Discussion

Moderator: Alfred Kammer, Deputy Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department (IMF)


Conversation with H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, Minister of Economy and Planning, Saudi Arabia, and Min Zhu, IMF Deputy Managing Director