Economic Progress

What are the reform priorities for the Middle East and North Africa?

The Dubai International Financial Centre. Image: REUTERS/Omr Mohamed

Majid Jafar
Chief Executive Officer, Crescent Petroleum
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Economic Progress?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Economic Progress is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Economic Progress

At a time of profound humanitarian and economic challenges, Majid Jafar, the CEO of Crescent Petroleum, gives his take on the priorities for business reform in the region.

1. How would you describe the current economic landscape in the Middle East and North Africa?

It is quite challenging due to three main factors:

First, a fragile security and humanitarian context, calling for a decisive collective action with regards to the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Particular attention should be paid to the deepening refugee crisis. To date, more than four million Syrian refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, while an estimated seven million are internally displaced; amounting to the greatest humanitarian catastrophe we have seen in decades.

Second, oil price shifts challenging resource-endowed nations with the imperative of reshaping their economies vis-à-vis the new global energy landscape. We should translate new investment and energy partnerships among the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Levant and North Africa, with international financial Institutions, into robust communities for growth while fostering job creation and entrepreneurship.

Third, current policy and regulatory frameworks, characterized by numerous impediments for doing business making it urgent to reform traditional bureaucracy and labour market rigidity, outdated mediation and arbitration methods, and many other issues.

2. What are the most pressing areas requiring reform?

There are many that we could summarize in 6 areas, recently identified by the Middle East and North Africa Regional Business Council (RBC) of the World Economic Forum as part of a new initiative aiming at accelerating the policy reform agenda in the region. The initiative is called the Actionable Policy Reforms Initiative and these areas are:

Enhance the efficiency of the labour market

Modernize bankruptcy and insolvency regulation

Simplify the process of creating a company

Reduce bureaucracy and strengthen government capacity to reinforce contracts

Build functional mediation and arbitration methods

Promote systems of good corporate governance

3. How can business contribute to address these challenges?

Business cannot do that alone. Building a solid public-private partnership is crucial to addressing these issues, and that is what the Actionable Policy Reforms Initiative is aiming for.

To put this initiative to action, members of the RBC have prepared a set of actionable policy recommendations covering top priority reform areas. During the 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and beyond, members of the RBC will seek to obtain commitments from governments to endorse the initiative. The subsequent phase will comprise deep dives into the six reform areas and the preparation of an implementation plan in partnership with stakeholders from the public sector.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

The latest from the IMF on the global economy, and other economics stories to read

Joe Myers

April 12, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum