Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Hala Abou-Ali

Editorial board

Hala Abou-Ali
Vice President, Institute of National Planning and a Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science (FEPS), Cairo University

Hala Abou-Ali is the Vice President of the Institute of National Planning, a Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science (FEPS), Cairo University and a Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum specialized in environmental and development economics with focus on the economic value and modelling of environmental resources in developing countries. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Gothenburg University, Sweden. Abou-Ali served as the Branch Campus President of the University of London hosted by the European Universities in Egypt (EUE) and as the Programme Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) at EUE from 2019 to 2022. Abou-Ali also worked as the director of the French Section at FEPS, Cairo University, from 2012 to 2015. She was appointed as the Secretary General of the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood in 2015. Abou-Ali is a former Member of the Egyptian Parliament. She was elected as the President of the Forum of Arab Parliamentarians on Population and Development for the 2016-2018 round and as Co-chair of the Global Networks of Road Safety Legislators 2019-2021. Abou-Ali joined the Economic Research Forum (ERF) in 2008 on a part time basis to take the lead on the work carried out on environmental economics in the MENA region. Starting January 2014 to August 2015, she led the Open Access Micro Data Initiative (OAMDI). She is an ERF Research Fellow. She has published several articles in internationally refereed journals and edited Economic incentives and environmental regulation: evidence from the MENA region (Edward Elgar 2012). She has accumulated experience in the economic value and modelling of environmental resources in developing countries, with a particular focus on water and air pollution and agricultural land degradation. She has also worked on issues such as climate change, impact evaluation of investments, poverty assessment, education, health, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Sustainable Development Goals for UNDP, UNFPA, WHO, and World Bank.

Content by this Author

Food security and child malnutrition in Africa

There is a complex relationship between climate change, food security and children’s nutritional status. This column outlines the research evidence, focusing in particular on the experience of African countries and poorer communities within them.

Climate change: the impact on child malnutrition in the Nile basin

There are complex interactions between climate change, food security and children’s nutritional status. This column summarises new research on these relationships in the context of Egypt, Ethiopia and Uganda, including the role of socio-economic factors in shaping child health, as well as possible routes and biological aspects that could explain their impacts.

Most read

Egypt’s care economy needs to address deteriorating working conditions

A robust and high-quality care economy is critical for supporting women’s employment – as both an employer of women and a mechanism for redistributing unpaid care work to the market. Yet in Egypt, despite national goals of expanding care services, employment in the sector has been shrinking, while becoming increasingly privatised. As this column reports, care jobs have also experienced worsening conditions of work, including reduced formality and the emergence of a pay penalty for care workers.

Unemployment among young women in GCC countries

The average rate of unemployment among young women in the high-income countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is far higher than the equivalent for young men. This column reports new evidence on the extent to which flexible labour markets, in the context of a generous social contract, can reduce female youth unemployment rates in the region.

Boosting trade through flexible rules of origin in preferential agreements

Rules of origin are critical components of preferential trade agreements designed to stop products coming in under insufficient transformation or through the partner that applies the lowest tariff. But in practice, these rules are often needlessly complex, undoing the benefits of market access associated with trade agreements. This column reports research showing that the adoption of more flexible product-specific rules of origin within preferential agreements would give a significant boost to global trade.

Challenges of GCC investment in the energy transition

The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have identified the energy transition as a crucial area of growth and are investing heavily in a diverse array of projects. However, as this column explains, the region faces a number of challenges in making a success of these investments, most notably its current dependence on fossil fuels, a lack of infrastructure and technical expertise, the high upfront costs, and geopolitical tensions.

The decline of social insurance in Egypt: directions for reform

The longstanding challenge for the Egyptian economy of providing its workers with decent, formal, socially insured jobs has become even more difficult. As this column explains, informality has been rising rather than falling, with a substantial reduction in social insurance coverage for the employed since the late 1990s. Reforms are needed to reverse this decline.

Social insurance in Egypt: between costly formality and legal informality

The rates of participation of Egyptian workers in contributory social insurance has continued to decline, even during times when the country has had positive annual growth rates. This column discusses key institutional elements in the design of the current social insurance scheme that have contributed to the growing gap in coverage, particularly the scheme’s cost and eligibility requirements.

Jordan: navigating through multiple crises

Jordan’s real GDP per capita is today no higher than it was 40 years ago. While external factors have undoubtedly had an adverse effect on the country’s economic outcomes, weak macroeconomic management and low public spending on investment and the social sectors have also played a substantial role. This column explores what can be done to reduce high public debt, accelerate private sector development and enhance social outcomes.

Making trade agreements more environmentally friendly in the MENA region

Trade policy can play a significant role in efforts to decarbonise the global economy. But as this column explains, there need to be more environmental provisions in trade agreements in which developing countries participate – and stronger legal enforcement of those provisions at the international level. The MENA region would benefit substantially from such changes.

Egypt and Iraq: amenities, environmental quality and taste for revolution

The Middle East and North Africa is a region marked by significant political turbulence. This column explores a novel dimension of these upheavals: the relationship between people’s satisfaction with, on one hand, the amenities to which they have access and the environmental quality they experience, and, on the other hand, their inclination towards revolutionary actions. The data come from the World Value Survey collected in 2018 in Egypt and Iraq.

Iran’s globalisation and Saudi Arabia’s defence budget

How might Saudi Arabia react to Iran's renewed participation in global trade and investment? This column explores whether the expanding economic globalisation of Iran, following the lifting of nuclear sanctions, could yield a peace dividend for Saudi Arabia, consequently dampening the Middle East arms competition. These issues have attracted increased attention in recent times, notably after a pivotal agreement between the two countries in March 2023, marking the resumption of their political ties after a seven-year conflict.