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Recovering, Reforming, & Reimagining Human Capital in the Middle East & North Africa

March 9, 2022



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  • Human capital consists of the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives. More human capital is associated with higher earnings for people, higher income for countries, and stronger cohesion in societies. It is a central driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction for MENA countries. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to human capital in the region and countries are now facing the dual challenge of recovering from human capital losses while transforming their human capital for the world of tomorrow.

    This high-level event will feature ministers from across the Middle East and North Africa and will highlight the nature and extent of human capital losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and stress the need for countries to invest both in recovering as well as reimagining human capital.

    With the aim of generating momentum and building on opportunities emerging from the pandemic, the event will also launch the update of the World Bank’s Middle East & North Africa regional Human Capital Plan, which was first released in 2019.

    Follow the conversation using #MENAHumanCapital or #HumanCapital.


    Opening Remarks:

    Ferid Belhaj, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, World Bank


    Chakib Benmoussa, President, Special Commission on the Development Model, Minister of Preschool, National Education and Sport, Morocco.

    Nivine El Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity, Egypt

    Samir Saïed, Minister of Economy and Planning, Tunisia

    Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General, General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Kuwait

    Tamam Mango, CEO at the Crown Prince Foundation, Jordan

    Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development, World Bank


    Nadia Bilbassy-Charters, Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief, Al Arabiya News Channel

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    Ferid Belhaj

    Vice President, Middle East and North Africa, World Bank Group

    Ferid Belhaj has been the World Bank Group Vice President for Middle East and North Africa since July 1, 2018. Prior to this, Belhaj served 15 months as the Chief of Staff of the President of the World Bank Group. From 2012 to 2017, Belhaj was World Bank Director for the Middle East, in charge of World Bank work programs in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Iran, based in Beirut, Lebanon. A Tunisian national, Belhaj joined the Bank in 1996 as Senior Counsel in the Legal Department, managing a number of legal and judicial reform projects. He also served as Bank Counsel for countries, including Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Algeria and Thailand.


    Chakib Benmoussa

    President, Special Commission on the Development Model and Minister of Preschool, National Education and Sport, Morocco

    Previously, Mr. Benmoussa was appointed by the King of Morocco to serve as the President of the Commission in charge of elaborating the New Model of Development of Morocco. Prior to that, Benmoussa served as the Ambassador of Morocco to France and Monaco from 2012 to 2019. He also various roles at the Ministry of the Interior from 2002 until he was appointed the Minister of the Interior (2006 to 2010). He held a number of official positions throughout his career including the Secretary General of the Prime Minister’s Office. Benmoussa is also a member of the Board of Directors of the CGEM, of the Ministerial Committee for Education and Training, and of the Permanent Support Committee for the Mohammed V Foundation. He holds engineering degrees from the Ecole Polytechnique de Paris and from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris, and a Master’s of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


    Dr. Nivine El Kabbag

    Minister of Social Solidarity, Ministry of Social Solidarity, Egypt

    Dr. Nivine was appointed as the Minister of Social Solidarity in December 2019. Previously, she served as a Deputy for the Minister of Social Solidarity, working on issues of social protection and development including poverty alleviation, economic empowerment and equity, as well as disability. She also served as an advisor in the Ministry between 2015 and 2018. Dr. Nivine has more than 25 years of experience in development policies, social protection, childhood protection, strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluation. She has held several positions in international bodies such as UNICEF, the American Development Association, and the American National Council for Women. She completed her PhD in international political economy and international relations at Ottawa University in Canada.


    Samir Saied

    Minister of Economy & Planning, Tunisia

    Mr. Saied has been the Minister of Economy & Planning of Tunisia since October of 2021. Mr. Saied is an engineer, graduated from the Ecole Centrale de Paris. He has been the CEO of Tunisie Telecom since May 2020. Mr. Saied has also had a long banking career. He started at Association Tunisienne des Banques (ATB), where he spent 17 years before occupying various high-level positions, including the post of General Manager of Societe Tunisienne des Banques (STB) (2015-2019). Mr. Saied also spent 12 years in Oman where he served as CEO of Al Hosn Investment Company and Managing Director of Oman Development Bank (2003-2013).


    Dr. Khaled Mahdi

    Secretary General, General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, State of Kuwait.

    Mahdi is the Secretary General of Kuwait’s Supreme Council for Planning and Development, the National Counterpart of UNDP’s Country Program in Kuwait, and is a member on several high-level government boards and committees, such as the Public Authority for Industries, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Researches, the Public Housing Authority, and the National Fund for SME, the Ease of Doing Business and Competitiveness Committee, and the Economic and Fiscal Reform Committee. In 2016, Mahdi established the Kuwait Public Policy Center (KPPC) and its Nudge Unit, reporting directly to him. He also oversees the three other in-house research centers: The National Knowledge Economy Center (NKEC), the National Sustainable Development Observatory (NSDO) and the National Development Research Center (NDRC).


    Dr. Tamam Mango

    CEO at the Crown Prince Foundation, Jordan.

    Mango is the CEO of the Crown Prince Foundation which was founded with the vision to partner with Jordan’s youth to help them attain their future aspirations. The Foundation seeks to support active youth engagement through participation, leadership, and competitiveness. Mango was a member of the Jordan National Competitiveness Team at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the Jordan Agency for Enterprise and Investment Development. Prior to her work with the Crown Prince Foundation, she was a partner at Leading Point Management Advisory Services focusing on work in development consulting. Mango holds a Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Exeter, a master’s degree in International Development and Regional Planning, and bachelor’s degrees in Urban Planning and Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


    Mamta Murthi

    Vice President for Human Development, World Bank Group

    Ms. Murthi started as Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank on July 1, 2020. In this role she oversees the Global Practices for Education; Health, Nutrition, and Population; Gender; Social Protection and Jobs – as well as the Human Capital Project. Murthi has held many leadership positions at the World Bank, including as Director of Operations Policy (2019), Director of Strategy and Operations in Infrastructure (2018), Director of Strategy and Operations in the Africa Region (2015-2018), and Regional Country Director for the EU, based in Brussels (2012-15). An economist by training, she has had technical roles in Social Protection and Labor (1996-2004) and Education (2006-10). She was Deputy Director of the World Development Report on Development and the Next Generation in 2006. During 1998-2000, Murthi was MacArthur Fellow for Poverty and Inequality at King’s College, Cambridge. Mamta joined the World Bank as a Young Professional in 1995. She has a Bachelors’ Degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi and a D.Phil in Economics from the University of Oxford.


    Nadia Bilbassy-Charters

    Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief, Al Arabiya News Channel, Event Moderator

    Ms. Bilbassy-Charters reports daily on major U.S. events and breaking news from the U.S. capital and has interviewed several world leaders, including President Obama, President Bush (43), President Arafat, President Mandela, President Abbas, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and several U.S. Secretaries of State, among others. Previously, she was the Nairobi Bureau Chief for Middle East Broadcasting Center, MBC, where she reported from the frontlines including the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the 1996-1997 military coup in Zaire, and the civil war in Southern Sudan.


  • Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2022
  • Time: 8:30-10:00AM EST (1:30-3:00PM GMT)
  • Language: Discussions will be conducted in English. French and Arabic interpretation will be available.