Following trade liberalization in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) during the early 2000s, the region experienced an economic boom. Total trade in the region (excluding high-income countries) rose sharply from 61 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 73 percent in 2000-2008. Yet, during these years of sustained economic growth in the region, poverty, inequality, low wages, informality, and low female labor force participation (FLFP) persisted. The lack of economic opportunities in the region has been associated to the socio-political turmoil, so improving labor-market outcomes is relevant for policymakers and governments striving for inclusive and sustainable economic growth that should promote stability. A new World Bank report, “Exports to Improve Labor Markets in the Middle East and North Africa”, sheds light on why rising trade in MENA failed to improve labor-market outcomes. To trace the relationship between trade policy and labor market outcomes the report analyzes changes in trade flows, the relationship between trade shocks and job creation, and firm behavior in the face of trade liberalization. To illustrate the differences within MENA, we focus on three diverse countries: Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.
At this online morning seminar, Gladys Lopez-Acevedo, Lead Economist and Global Lead, World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Global Practice, and Raymond Robertson, Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Services, Texas A&M University presented the main points of the report.
8am-9am, Thursday July 20, 2023 (Japan Standard Time)
Lead Economist and Global Lead, Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank
Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Services, Texas A&M University