It is widely understood that natural resource dependency can have a significant negative impact on a country’s long-term economic growth. This column explores evidence for how such outcomes arise – as well as potential diversification strategies that could help to reduce the resource curse in the economies of the Middle East and North Africa.
In economies where the state maintains a big footprint, as in the Middle East and North Africa, improving the performance of public enterprises and dominant private firms would seem to require a stronger threat of competition. But as this column explains, such enhanced market contestability may not be enough if there is inadequate competition in the marketplace for policy ideas and public opinion.
For the African continental free trade area to become fully operational, it is essential for the 54 signatory countries to reach agreement on harmonisation of rules of origins – the ‘Made in Africa’ criteria to ensure that only bona fide African products will benefit from tariff concessions. This column reports on progress and the remaining challenges.
Economic populism often leads to political and cultural populism, according to this column, the final one in a series of three on this increasingly prominent phenomenon. Because the returns to ‘election economics’ are positive in the short run – in terms of growth and popular support – but negative in the long run as the economy suffers, governments eventually have to resort to authoritarianism. Populists often end up blaming migrants, minorities, international institutions and foreign powers for the declining economy.
Populist governments often practice ‘election economics’, boosting public spending ahead of a vote to attract more support and reining it in afterwards to avoid inflation. This column, the second in a series of three on the increasingly prominent economic and political phenomenon of populism, explores the experiences of Turkey.
How are labour markets in the Middle East and North Africa performing a year into the pandemic? This column assesses the impact of the crisis on employment and earnings using data from the second wave of the ERF Covid-19 MENA monitor surveys in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. There are glimmers of progress but persistent problems in these four countries’ labour markets.
Has the Covid-19 outbreak been a blessing in disguise for the social contract for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Kuwait? This column argues that the double crisis of the pandemic and low oil prices provides an opportunity to adopt the reforms that are necessary to make the country’s economy more dynamic, in particular encouraging innovation and job creation in the small business sector.
Governments that stimulate the economy before elections by increasing transfer payments, authoritarian leaders who suppress opposition and undermine institutions that provide checks and balances, and political parties and governments that espouse racist and anti-immigrant policies are all referred to as ‘populist’. This column, the first of three on this increasingly prominent phenomenon, argues that we should distinguish three different kinds of populism: economic, political and cultural.