WASHINGTON, April 17, 2015 – The Arab Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group signed today an Enhanced Partnership Framework to support countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in developing their economies and financial markets. This initiative will include collaboration on joint strategies for promoting the development of financial markets and trade among countries; supporting economic stabilization; and accelerating broad-based and inclusive economic growth and job creation in the Arab region.
“The World Bank and the Arab Monetary Fund have collaborated on a number of initiatives over the years and given our fruitful cooperation in the past, we are here to solidify and strengthen this partnership further,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region. “This new partnership framework brings together the elements of our joint engagement with the Arab Monetary Fund under one umbrella in a more structured, ambitious and comprehensive manner. It also brings the World Bank and IFC, our private sector arm, together as one World Bank Group.”
The Framework was signed by MENA Vice President Hafez Ghanem, Dr. Abdulrahman Al Hamidy, Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) Director General and Chairman of the Board, and Mouayed Makhlouf, International Finance Corporation Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Cooperation under this memorandum of understanding will enable each institution to leverage its respective core competencies and comparative advantage as well as to consolidate, strengthen and broaden the ongoing collaboration.
“The Arab Monetary Fund’s extensive experience in assisting financial sector development in the region, and in supporting capacity development effort in our member countries, has always been among our top priorities,” said Dr. Abdulrahman Al Hamidy, AMF Director General and Chairman of the Board. “We look forward to pursuing and intensifying this effort to better tackle the needs in the region.”
The AMF and WBG specific support to Arab countries will focus on technical assistance and awareness raising in three areas: financial sector infrastructure including payment systems, credit information sharing systems and collateral registries; financial channels and vehicles such as bond market development, early stage innovation, financing for start-ups, Islamic finance, housing finance and SME stock exchanges; and financial sector inclusion and access, including on providing access to finance by micro enterprises, SMEs, firms, households and individuals, and developing mobile banking and mobile money.
The Arab Monetary Fund and IFC have in the past few years helped establish more enabling business and regulatory environments for private credit bureaus in these countries. “The Arab Monetary Fund is a long term partner of IFC in pursuing the private sector development agenda across the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Through this MOU we will continue to partner and provide assistance for the development of the regional financial sector, especially in the areas of access to finance for small businesses, Islamic finance, and housing finance.”
This Enhanced Partnership Framework will also provide training opportunities and high-level conferences on key topics of relevance to the region in the financial arena.