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Annual Central Bank Conference on Development Economics in the Middle East and North Africa

MENA ACBC Conference photo
  • The Regional Research Network (RRN) of Central Banks of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was launched in 2021 at the initiative of the World Bank’s Office of the Chief Economist for MENA. The three core objectives of the RRN are to increase the influence of scholarly research in decision-making; to promote economic and policy dialogue on the development challenges and opportunities faced by the economies of MENA; and to facilitate the exchange of experiences among the global academic community and Central Banks to help strengthen their research capabilities.

    The Heads of research departments and/or Chief Economists of the Central Banks of Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and West Bank and Gaza make up the Steering Committee of the RRN, which is chaired by the Chief Economist for MENA of the World Bank.

    The RRN conference seeks to bring together academics, policy makers, and development practitioners to present and discuss recent scholarly work on economic and policy issues that are pressing for the region. The first RRN conference (at the end of 2021) explored the challenges for macroeconomic policy in uncertain times. The second conference (in early 2023) focused on inflation dynamics. The third edition of the RRN conference explored the nexus between labor markets and structural transformation. The conference was held in hybrid format in Rabat, Morocco on September 14-15, 2023. 

    The fourth edition of the conference will be co-hosted with the Central Bank of Kuwait, and will be held in person in Kuwait City, Kuwait, on January 29-30, 2025. The conference theme is “NAVIGATING THE CHALLENGES OF UNCERTAINTY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEBT”. For more information on how to submit a paper, visit the call for papers.


  • Call for Papers

    4th Annual Central Bank Conference on Development Economics in the Middle East and North Africa


    The fourth edition of the conference will explore recent research on the challenges of climate change and debt. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region faces a confluence of pressing challenges and overlapping shocks. The region stands out as a global hotspot for climate shocks. These events, characterized by increased frequency and intensity in recent years, inflict a disproportionate economic burden on the region. The existing strain on water and land resources due to economic development, urbanization, and population growth is further exacerbated by climate shocks, shrinking the availability of already scarce resources. These vulnerabilities are compounded in some countries by high levels of public and private debt accumulated over the past decade. Higher interest rates in advanced economies and tighter financial conditions exacerbates the situation and limits the ability to implement much-needed reforms to adapt to and mitigate against climate shocks. The ongoing global economic slowdown, exacerbated by ongoing conflicts in the region and geopolitical tensions, further complicates the picture. These successive shocks increase uncertainties in MENA economies and affect households and firms as result.

    The Steering Committee of the 4th RRN conference invites submissions of high-quality papers (with the potential for publication in peer-reviewed journals) that explore complex issues around the different sources of shocks across developing and developed countries and innovative solutions for policy makers in the MENA region to better navigate compounding shocks and build a more resilient and sustainable future. Relevant questions and topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • What are the transmission channels of climate change shocks to the economy? What are the macroeconomic costs of climate change shocks?
    • What role can Central Banks play to mitigate climate change shocks? How to manage monetary policy under climate change threats?
    • The EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: What does it mean for MENA and for the rest of the World?
    • How to rethink debt sustainability in the face of evolving challenges?
    • What is the impact of high interest rates on sovereign debt?
    • How does uncertainty affect the behavior of firms and households and the macroeconomy?
    • What is the expected economic impact of the energy transition, the net zero emissions policy and the role of central banks: Economic and inflationary consequences of energy transition and the net zero emissions policy and how Central Banks could mitigate them.

    Empirical and theoretical contributions analyzing these and related topics are welcome. A focus on countries in MENA is welcome but not required, provided that the paper is relevant to the economic and policy debate in the MENA region.


    The deadline for submissions is September 20, 2024 (before midnight Washington, DC time). Interested authors should send their papers to The e-mail should contain i) the name, title, and affiliated organization/institution of the main author and potential presenter, ii) the names of the co-authors, iii) an abstract of the paper and iv) the full paper as an attachment. Please use [Paper submission to the fourth RRN Conference] in the subject line. Authors of accepted papers will be notified by email on October 18, 2024.

    The conference will be held in person in Kuwait City, Kuwait on January 29-30, 2025. Please note that only in-person presentation of the accepted papers will be considered. Travel and accommodation costs for the presenter of each accepted contribution will be covered. Details on travel logistics and accommodation will be circulated after the notification of acceptance.


    Questions or comments about the submission of papers should be addressed to For more information on the RRN, including recordings of previous editions of the conference, please visit the RRN website.

  • 3rd Annual Conference of the Regional Research Network of the Central Banks of the Middle East and North Africa

    Day 1 Watch the live stream here

    Day 2 Watch the live stream here


    The theme of the 3rd Annual Central Bank Conference on Development Economics in the Middle East and North Africa was “Labor Markets and Structural Transformation.”

    The conference was hosted by Bank Al-Maghrib in Rabat on September 14th and 15th, 2023. H.E. Abdellatif Jouahri (Governor, Bank Al-Maghrib), Ferid Belhaj (Regional Vice President, World Bank), and Younes Sekkouri (Minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills) made opening remarks. Esther Duflo (Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Chang-Tai Hsieh (Phyllis and Irwin Winkelried Professor of Economics, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business), Seema Jayachandran (Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University), and Rachel Ngai (Associate Professor of Economics, The London School of Economics and Political Science) offered keynote addresses at the 3rd edition of the RRN conference. The conference also featured 15 research papers, grouped in the following themes: Structural Change: Drivers, Consequences, and Policies; Gender Inequality, Poverty, and Labor-Market Reforms; Labor Markets, Human Capital and Structural Change in MENA; Migration, Growth, and Structural Transformation; Shocks, Labor Markets and Enterprises.

    Selected Research Papers


    Speakers Bios


  • 2nd Annual Central Bank Conference on Development Economics in the Middle East and North Africa

    The theme of the 2nd Annual Central Bank Conference on Development Economics in the Middle East and North Africa was “Inflation Dynamics During Uncertain Times: The Path Toward Stable and Sustainable Recovery.”

    The conference was hosted by the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on January 31st and February 1st, 2023 (in hybrid mode). The conference featured 18 research papers, grouped in the following themes: Domestic and External Drivers of Inflation in MENA (two sessions); the Role of the Dollar and U.S Interest Rates; Macroeconomic Management in Open Economies; and the Role of Supply Chains.  

    A panel discussion between Indermit Gill (Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank) and Raghuram Rajan (Professor of Finance, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and Former Central Bank Governor, India) closed the second day of the conference.

    Selected Research Papers


    Speaker Bios

    PowerPoint Presentations

    Video of Day 1 of the conference

    Video of Day 2 of the conference

  • 1st Annual Central Bank Conference on Development Economics in the Middle East and North Africa

    The theme of the 1st Annual Central Bank Conference on Development Economics in the Middle East and North Africa was “Macroeconomic Policy: Innovation and Challenges during Uncertain Times.”

    The conference was hosted by the Central Bank of Tunisia and was held fully online on December 1 – 2, 2021. The conference featured 18 papers grouped in three pairs of parallel sessions grouped in the following themes: Macro Modelling in the COVID era; Finance and Macroeconomics; Crisis Impact on the Banking Sector; Macroeconomics of Calamities; Managing Business Cycles; and Financial Risks in MENA and Policy Implications from Banking Sector.

    The keynote speaker was Carmen Reinhart, Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard Kennedy School, former Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group). The conference included a session on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) with John Kiff, Research Director at SODA (Sovereign Official Digital Association), Head of CBDC/Digital Capital Markets Advisory at Satoshi Capital Advisers, and Advisor to WhisperCash, formerly of the IMF and the Central Bank of Canada) and Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, Chief of the Macro-Financial Division of the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. The closing panel of MENA Central Bank Governors was moderated by Ferid Belhaj (World Bank Vice President for MENA).



    Speaker Bios



  • Organized by: Regional Research Network (RRN) of Central Banks in the MENA region and the World Bank MENA Chief Economist Office