|Feature Story Template
June 20, 2011 - Economies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are undergoing a profound change as countries strive to move from privilege based markets to more competitive ones. Many countries in the region have implemented private sector reforms and experienced substantial growth in recent years. However, the private sector has faced significant challenges in transforming MENA countries into diversified and competitive economies with a sustainable high growth record.
As protests mounted this Spring, it has become clear that the economic status quo neglected to create ample opportunities for the rising tide of youths entering the labor market. In addition, the economic reforms failed to translate into measures that assisted this significant segment of the population. The World Bank regional flagship publication "From Privilege to Competition: Unlocking Private-Led Growth in the Middle-East and North Africa" reveals that in MENA, the gap between the laws and regulations and its actual implementation is wider than anywhere else in the world. As a result, the region faces less competition and private sector dynamism.
|Sixty participants attended the Workshop|
On June 20, 2011, the World Bank MENA Finance and Private Sector Development team organized a “From Privilege to Competition – Fostering Innovation and Competitiveness in MENA” (P2C) workshop on private sector development issues in the MENA region. The workshop focused on ways to promote innovation and develop a more competitive market. Hosted by the World Bank Beirut office, the event was built around the findings of the WB flagship report.
The workshop focused on three main areas:
- Promoting competition and supporting reforms aimed at improving the quality and credibility of policies and regulations governing private businesses;
- Integrating the MENA region into the global economy through foreign direct investment (FDI) presence and greater adaptation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs); and
- Fostering high quality public and private partnerships to help the private sector move up the value chain and create sustainable jobs.
The discussions drew on experiences from both developed and developing economies by identifying regional and global best practices applicable to the region. The event was organized for World Bank Group staff working on private sector issues in MENA. Main government counterparts and private sector representatives were also invited. Among more than 60 confirmed participants, officials from 8 regional economies; competition experts from Egypt, France, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru and Tunisia; private sector representatives from partners such as CISCO, Monitor, McKinsey, and private equity funds; and donors were present. The World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) staff were drawn from regional offices of Egypt, Istanbul, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, and the United States.