In 2012, the IMF –Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (CEF), located in Kuwait, and the World Bank Group (WB) joined forces to launch an integrated curriculum of training workshops and seminars. The aim was to combine the convening power of the CEF with the technical capacity and knowledge sharing power of the WB. These training activities are focused on building the capacity of public officials of Arab League countries. They promote the formulation and implementation of effective economic, financial, and social policies across various sectors, based on lessons learned and experiences from across the world.
Now in its third year running, the CEF has provided training for a diverse range of public officials from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, mostly concentrating on areas of economics and finance. However, the joint program with the World Bank is allowing the program to expand to include human development sectors. This was in response to the breadth and diversity of socioeconomic topics that country officials have expressed an interest in being trained in. Commenting on this development, Mr. Philippe Karam, Acting Director of the CEF, said: “We are happy to ramp up our learning opportunities to include topics that are now very high on the region’s priorities”.
As WB staff well know, Human Development is composed of three closely inter-related sectors: Education, Health, and Social Protection. It is vitally important to work across all three to achieve the World Bank’s twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The Education sector is responsible for delivering support to countries on K-12 programs, as well as a range of tertiary education programs, including higher education and technical and vocational training. The Health sector is responsible for delivering services to clients in policy areas including, but not limited to, the strengthening of health systems , maternal and child health, fairness and accountability, and universal health insurance/coverage. Last but not least, the Social Protection sector is responsible for delivering services to clients in policy areas including social safety nets/social assistance systems, labor market assessment and reform, employment creation, youth employment, migration, social insurance (e.g. pensions and unemployment insurance), and cross-sectoral issues such as education-to-work transition, social services, and social accountability.