The World Bank organized the “MENA Knowledge-Sharing and How-To in Subsidy Reform” regional workshop at the Jordan Valley Marriott Hotel on the Dead Sea, Jordan, from September 7-9, 2014. This workshop was dedicated to readying government systems for price reform in participating countries, including Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen.
The workshop uniquely focused on preparing countries’ social safety nets and energy systems for price reform. Within that context, the workshop examined how governments can reform energy and social safety net sectors in the short- and medium-term prior to price shocks. The workshop also showcased options for policy makers to mitigate the effects of subsidy reform on labor-intensive businesses and competitive sectors. Finally, the workshop offered best practices in set-up of social safety nets, energy efficiency, strategic communication, and political economy considerations for subsidy reform.
Scope and Funding:
The workshop featured over 70 international delegates, speakers, and practitioners who have successfully implemented subsidy reform schemes from around the world. Speakers and experts from around the world participated to present the recent subsidy reform experiences from Brazil, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Turkey.
The workshop is the culmination of collaborative knowledge-sharing engagements, including a series of virtual convenings with government officials across six countries over the last several months. These initiatives also included just-in-time technical support to Egypt.
The project was funded through The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), and in collaboration with the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP)
The conference highlighted the extent to which preparing energy and social safety net systems continue to be a top priority for MENA countries engaging in subsidy reform. The frank discussions surrounding the recent experiences of Egypt and Yemen expressed the need for inter-sectoral engagement. Officials reiterated the need for the World Bank to facilitate the sequencing of reform, set-up of mitigation measures, and communication. Participant feedback also highlighted unified registries as a tool for targeted social service delivery that can encourage the reform process. Finally, participants emphasized the demand for continued knowledge-sharing efforts on subsidy reform, both within the region and from other country experiences. Although conducted under Chatham house rules to facilitate frank discussion, the conference received media coverage in both Jordan and Egypt.