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Conference on MENA Economies

Main Themes
Growth prospects and Income Inequalities

Growth in the region has been largely unbalanced over the years leading to high levels of unemployment. Many countries in the region have either been resource dependent or services oriented. There is a need for greater diversification to improve the growth prospects. Moreover, for several countries in the region, the debt burden is relatively high and becomes more complicated with the lower growth prospects as well as the challenging external environment. Authors are encouraged to examine the potential sectoral developments and provide insights about improving the growth prospects for countries to help overcome unemployment and improve the debt trajectory. Another aspect of the analysis of growth in the region can be accomplished through its effect on income dynamics. Authors are also encouraged to focus on different paths of income inequalities across countries in the region.

Monetary and Fiscal Policy
The macroeconomic policy mix adopted by countries in the region will help define the growth prospects and the new economic paradigm going forward. Prior to the Arab spring, the macroeconomic policies followed by governments created several economic and social distortions. Authors are encouraged to examine alternative monetary and fiscal regimes that would shape the business cycle and help mitigate future risks to avoid the repeat of various outcomes and distortions.

Forecasting key economic aggregates in an interconnected world
Preemptive policy is key to mitigating the adverse effects of shocks, which requires the adequate forecasting of key economic aggregates. Moreover, sound policy formulation and evaluation depends heavily on the availability and quality of data. Authors are encouraged to examine the prospects of the MENA economies taking into account global economic forecasts and the interlinkages among both the economies of the region and between the region and the rest of the world.

Political Economy
The ongoing political transformations in the MENA region are likely to have significant bearing on the future economic developments in individual countries of the region and on their interlinkages with other countries of the region and with the rest of the world. The democratic wave which is sweeping across the region has also raised vital questions regarding economic and social policy as subjects of greater public debate within each country. The political economy papers should identify the main economic themes of critical importance to the democratic public debate and the likely effects on both policy changes and the potential effectiveness of these policy changes.

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