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Workshop on Capital & Labor Mobility within ERF Region, Cairo, Egypt, October 14, 2012

Regional integration in the ERF region constitutes an important challenge for the concerned countries. To date, almost all research on the outcomes has exclusively focused on goods markets. However, integration of the goods market is not the only form of economic integration and is not a prerequisite for other forms of integration. Available evidence points to important potential welfare gains from integration of capital and labor markets in the Region.

Accordingly, ERF launched a call for proposals under the theme of Integration of the Arab Region. Integration is seen as covering any or all types of regional exchange (i.e. goods, services, or factors) and their interactions. Moreover, it covers various dimensions; i.e. intra-Arab, integration in the world economy and/or preferential trading agreements (PTA) with any other non-Arab countries.

Which is not to undermine the importance of economic integration. "Improving the economic performance of Arab countries in terms of intraregional trade and investment flows is now more critical than ever. The region faces many challenges such as high population growth rates, increasing unemployment rates, and modest economic growth," commented Mohamed Marouani, author of International Labor Mobility and Employment Interactions and associate professor, Université Paris1-Panthéon-Sorbonne.

There were eight papers presented and discussed at the workshop. One paper titled Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment by Brahim Elmorchid, Nouira Ridha, and Khaled Sekkat, the researchers analyzed the factors that have a significant impact on attracting FDI to the Arab world. The authors concluded that the size of the economy (through GDP and GDP per capita) is an important factor in attracting FDI. The larger the size of an economy, the more important the flow of FDI becomes.

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