This volume, edited by Said El-Naggar, is the fifth in a series of seminars dealing with economic issues of particular importance to the Arab countries. Held in Manama, Bahrain, in February 1993, it covered topics pertaining to economic development of the Arab countries in the nineties. The seven papers that were presented comprised economic reform in the Arab countries, including particularly structural issues; investment policies and capital flows; inter-Arab labor movements; environment and development; development of human resources; and European economic integration. An overview of the topics is presented by the seminar moderator, Said El-Naggar.

Economic Development of the Arab Countries

Selected Issues

Edited by Said El-Naggar

Papers presented at a Seminar held in Bahrain February 1–3,1993

International Monetary Fund 1993

© International Monetary Fund, 1993

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Economic development of the Arab countries: selected issues / edited by Said El-Naggar.

  • p. cm.

  • “Papers presented at a seminar held in Bahrain, February 1–3, 1993.” Includes bibliographical references.

  • ISBN 9781557753328

  • 1. Arab countries—Economic conditions—Congresses. I. El-Naggar, Sa’id, 1920- II. International Monetary Fund.

  • HC498.E24 1993

  • 338.9’00917’4927—dc20



Price: US$22.00

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Cable: Interfund

Sponsoring Organizations

  • The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development

  • The Arab Monetary Fund

  • The International Monetary Fund

  • The World Bank


The current prospects for economic development of the Arab region as a whole in the nineties conceal wide variations between the countries of the region. Nevertheless, some of the issues that are likely to be of major importance in the context of growth and development can be identified and were covered in this seminar held in Bahrain on February 1–3, 1993. The IMF was again pleased to have been associated with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, and the World Bank in sponsoring this seminar, and this fifth volume of seminar proceedings published jointly by the IMF and the Arab Monetary Fund is a worthwhile and timely addition to the series.

The issues taken up at the seminar by its distinguished authors and discussants included economic reform, investment and capital flows, intra-Arab labor movements, the environment, the impact of the European Community on the region, and the development of human resources—topics of relevance for all developing countries, but dealt with here specifically with regard to the Arab countries. Some of these countries have progressed significantly toward modernization, institution building, and mobilization of resources in the last three decades, although many still have far to go. I hope that the publication of this volume will contribute to an improved understanding of these issues and of their significance for improving the economic performance of the Arab region in the coming years.

Michel Camdessus

Managing Director

International Monetary Fund


This is the fifth seminar in a series of seminars dealing with economic issues of particular importance to the Arab countries. It is the fruit of collaborative effort between the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. The seminar, held in Manama, Bahrain, on February 1–3, 1993, provided an excellent opportunity for a number of high-level experts and policymakers to exchange views on topics pertaining to economic development of the Arab countries in the nineties. The seven papers that were presented at the seminar are included in this publication, together with the written comments of the discussants and an introduction by the moderator.

I would like on the occasion of this publication to express my thanks to all those who made this event possible. A special word of thanks is due to the Government of Bahrain for hosting the seminar, to Abdlatif Al-Hamad, Director General and Chairman of the Board, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, to Osama Faquih, Director General and Chairman of the Board, Arab Monetary Fund, and to their assistants for the excellent organization of the seminar and for their hospitality during our stay in Bahrain. I would also like to thank Elin Knotter of the External Relations Department of the International Monetary Fund for editing this volume and directing it from draft through publication.

Said El-Naggar



  • Foreword

  • Acknowledgment

  • 1. Economic Development of the Arab Countries: The Basic Issues

    • Said El-Naggar

  • 2. Economic Reform in the Arab Countries: A Review of Structural Issues

    • Mohamed El-Erian

    • Shamsuddin Tareq

    • Comment: Mustapha Kara

  • 3. Investment Policies and Major Determinants of Capital Flows to Arab Countries

    • Ghassan El-Rifai

  • 4. Arab Capital Flows: Recent Trends and Policy Implications

    • Ahmed Abisourour

    • Comment: Samih Masoud*

  • 5. Inter-Arab Labor Movements: Problems and Prospects

    • Tayseer Abdel Jaber

    • Comment: Mohamed Al-Amin Fares

  • 6. Environmental Policies and Sustainable Development in the Arab World

    • Mostafa K. Tolba

    • Comment: Salah El Serafy

  • 7. Human Development in the Middle East and North Africa Region

    • Stephen P. Heyneman

    • Comment: Badr Malalla

  • 8. European Economic Integration and the Arab Countries

    • Rolf J. Langhammer

    • Comments: Assia Bensalah Alaoui

    • Mabid Al-Jarhi

  • List of Participants

The following symbols have been used throughout this volume:

  • … to indicate that data are not available;

  • —to indicate that the figure is zero or less than half the final digit shown, or that the item does not exist;

  • –between years or months (e.g., 1991–92 or January–June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months;

  • / between years (e.g., 1991/92) to indicate a crop or fiscal (financial) year.

“Billion” means a thousand million.

Minor discrepancies between constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.

The term “country,” as used in this volume, does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice; the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states, but for which statistical data are maintained and provided internationally on a separate and independent basis.


This comment covers Chapters 3 and 4.