Rabat – The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the topic of a two-day research symposium being held by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the Economics of Transition journal on 2-3 June.
The event will take a stand-back look at some of the more intractable challenges facing the region, EBRD said in a statement.
Many of the difficulties currently confronting the MENA region lie well outside the control of the countries themselves. To varying degrees, their economies are being negatively affected by the global slowdown, sluggish world trade and volatile financial flows, as well as the impact of terror attacks and the influx of refugees from war-torn neighbouring countries, the Bank added.
What this symposium will focus on, however, are the more home-grown challenges, the responses to which are in the gift of the authorities but which often require strong political will to implement, along with a determination to tackle vested interests and to take a long-term political perspective.
In a global environment where competition for finance is fierce, countries are under pressure to improve their business climates and to make their economies more attractive to investment, both from abroad and domestically, according to the same source.
‘The Economics of the Middle East and North Africa’ symposium will analyse these challenges in detail. Discussions will focus on areas such as job creation – crucial in a region where youth unemployment in particular is a major social and economic problem and where women are often systematically excluded from the marketplace.
In addition, papers will be delivered on migration, trade and political connections as well as the role of religion.