Greater economic and financial integration of the Arab countries is widely agreed to be essential both to promote growth and to shelter the region more effectively from the negative impact of future global crises. This column outlines key policy measures.
Plans to establish an African continental free trade area are hampered by three incompatible objectives: solidarity across the continent’s diverse countries; large membership to break the curse of small markets; and deep integration to reap all the benefits of close economic cooperation. This column explains Africa’s ‘integration trilemma’ – and suggests that it may in part explain why no North African country has as yet ratified the AfcFTA Treaty.
Inflows of overseas development assistance are typically helpful for countries seeking to rebuild in the immediate aftermath of a civil conflict – but in the longer term, they can pose serious macroeconomic challenges. This column summarises the research evidence on the effects and effectiveness of aid, and draws lessons for Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.
International trade is still hampered by non-tariff measures (NTMs), which in turn is a barrier to growth, particularly in developing countries. This column summarises the findings of a comprehensive review of NTMs in the Arab region and their corresponding ‘ad-valorem equivalents’ of tariffs. Reduction, simplification and harmonisation of these NTMs would make pan-Arab trade agreements much more effective.