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Office of the Chief Economist - Middle East & North Africa

June 18, 2020

How Transparency Can Help the Middle East and North Africa

Transparency about critical economic issues — such as public debt and employment — will be the key to driving growth and enhancing trust in government in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The need for greater transparency comes as the MENA region faces unprecedented dual shocks from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and the collapse in oil prices. The shocks have exacerbated already slow economic growth in the region, due, in part, to lack of data transparency. As of April 1, changes in forecasts implied that the costs for MENA were about 3.7% of the region's 2019 GDP (approximately US$116 billion) compared to 2.1% as recently as March 19.

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa possess all the ingredients they need to leapfrog into the digital future. Their well-educated youth have already adopted new digital and mobile technologies, but, this is still in its infancy. Seizing the opportunities that the digital economy offers the MENA region will require a big push. Policymakers will need to work on multiple fronts. The sooner they start, the greater the chance that today’s young people can overcome economic exclusion and gain more opportunities to realize their—and their region’s—full potential.

World Bank Group


The MENA Chief Economist Seminar Series is a regular event organized to shed light on and debate the latest research relevant to the Middle East and North Africa. The MENA Chief Economist Seminar Series are held in the World Bank offices in Washington, DC and are open to the public. If you’d like to attend, please send a request to hnegatu@worldbank.org.

MENA Chief Economist Seminar Series FY 20





June 25, 2020

Internationalization of Tertiary Education in MENA: Challenges and Opportunities


Giulia Marchesini

June 18, 2020

National Oil Companies: Role, Governance and Risks in an Evolving Future


Patrick Heller

June 16​, 2020

Does Austerity Pay Off


Gernot Muller

June 11, 2020

Women Rising: In and Beyond the Arab Spring

 Rita Stephan and Mounira M. Charrad

June 4, 2020

Formal Institutions and Development in Low-Income Countries


Ragnar Torvik

May 21, 2020

Refugees and Foreign Direct Investment: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from U.S. Resettlements

Pierre-Louis Vezina


May 20, 2020

Measurement of Labor Market Outcomes and Female Labor Force Participation in MENA


Nelly El-Mallakh

May 19, 2020

Macroeconomic Fragility and Debt-data Transparency


Ha Minh Nguyen

May 14, 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Egyptian Economy


Dr. Abla Abdel Latif


 May 13, 2020

Long-term Growth and Data Transparency


Asif Islam

May 12, 2020

On the Economics of the Dual Shock in MENA


Rachel Yuting Fan and Daniel Lederman

May 7, 2020

Competition and Welfare Gains from Transportation Infrastructure: Evidence from India and Implications to MENA


Jose Asturias

May 5, 2020

Transparency for a Time of Crisis and Beyond


Daniel Lederman

April 30, 2020

The Past, Present and Future of Sovereign Debt


S. Ali Abbas

April 23, 2020

Women at Work in the Middle East


Rima Assi

April 16, 2020

Covid-19 Coronavirus and Macroeconomic Policy


Luca Fornaro

April 7, 2020

Enabling Data Innovation Through Accountability


Yeong Zee Kin

April 2, 2020

E-commerce in China: Job Opportunities for Woman and Youth


Xubei Luo

March 26, 2020

Informality, Frictions, and Macroprudential Policy


Moez Ben Hassine

March 19, 2020

Reflecting on 10 years of World Learning's youth workforce development programs in Algeria


Catherine Honeyman and Elenor Sohnen

March 5, 2020

Assessing Oil and Non-Oil GDP Growth from Space: An Application to Yemen 2012-17


Majdi Debbich

February 27, 2020

Harnessing Digital Technologies to Promote SMEs and Inclusive Growth in the MENAP Region


Inutu Lukonga

February 20, 2020

What Explain the Gender Gap Reversal in Educational Attainment?


Laurent Bossavie

February 13, 2020

Selective Sovereign Defaults


Enrico Mallucci,

February 6, 2020


Data and Public Policy


Andrea Barone

January 30, 2020

Measuring Geopolitical Risk


Dario Caldara and Matteo Lacoviello

January 23, 2020


Promoting job-rich growth in Morocco through well-sequenced structural reforms


Mokhtar Benlamine and Babacar Sarr

January 15, 2020

Fractured Stability: War Economies and Reconstruction in the MENA


Luigi Narbone and Steven Heydemann

January 9, 2020


Beyond the Project Mindset: Frameworks, Tools and Lessons for Scaling Development Outcomes


Larry Cooley

December 16, 2019

Estimating Poverty for Refugee Populations: Can Cross-Survey Imputation Methods Substitute for Data Scarcity?


Hai-Anh Dang 

December 12, 2019 

E-shekels Across Borders: A distributed ledger system to settle payments between Israel and the West Bank


Priscilla Toffano

December 5, 2019 

Illegal Trade in Work Permits for Palestinian Workers in Israel: Current Conditions and Expected Reforms


 Haggay Etkes

December 3, 2019 

What Arab Citizens Think about their Political and Economic Conditions? Findings from the Arab Barometer Fifth Wave.



Michael Robbins

November 20, 2019

Reforms to Reignite Growth in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies


Romain duval

November 18, 2019 

Inheritance: an opportunity for change despite resistance


Bochra Belhaj Hmida

November 14, 2019 

Resource Booms and the Macroeconomy: The Case of U.S. Shale Oil


Nida Cakir Melek

November 11, 2019 

Is the Egyptian Economy Creating Good Jobs? Evidence from the 2018 Wave of the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey


Ragui Assaad,

October 31, 2019 

Economic Harbingers of Political Modernization: Peaceful Explosion of Rights in Ottoman Istanbul


Prof Timur Kuran,

October 11, 2019 

Reinventing the box: Singapore digitalization journey


Mr. Chan Cheow Hoe 

September 26, 2019 

Inequality Undermines Democracy and Growth


Thorvaldur Gylfason

September 19, 2019 

The Shale Oil Boom and the U.S. Economy: Spillovers and Time-Varying Effects


Hilde C Bjornland

September 10, 2019 

Tax Capacity and Growth: Is there a Tipping Point


Philippe Wingender

September 5, 2019

Using Aid to Address the Root Causes of Migration and Refugee Flows: The Case of the European Union


Heliodoro Temprano Arroyo

July 11, 2019

A Decade of Competition Policy in Arab Countries: A De jure and De facto Assessment


Jala Youssef and Chahir Zaki


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Chief Economist

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