Middle East and Central Asia > Bahrain, Kingdom of

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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) discusses economic prospects and policy priorities for the GCC countries. A comprehensive package of policies should be implemented to respond to near-term shocks and uncertainty and to firmly address medium- and long-term challenges. In the near term, fiscal policy should remain prudent, avoiding procyclical spending and using the windfall from higher oil prices to rebuild buffers. Targeted and temporary fiscal measures could be undertaken to respond to shocks, if they materialize. In the medium term, GCC countries should continue pursuing fiscal consolidation consistent with ensuring intergenerational equity and sustainability, supported by a credible rules-based medium-term fiscal framework. Continued financial sector reforms are needed to support growth and stability. Structural policies should continue focusing on diversifying the economies away from hydrocarbon. Reform efforts aimed at further enhancing product market regulations, labor markets, and governance will spur growth, as will efficient investments in digital and green initiatives to accelerate transformation and support energy transition. The industrial policy should be carefully calibrated and not substitute for structural reforms while minimizing related inefficiencies.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Interest in CBDC is growing globally including in Bahrain, which has made considerable strides in the areas of payment service digitalization and fintech. While a CBDC could bring about various benefits, it may also imply risks. The analysis presented in this paper aims to assess some of these benefits and risks for Bahrain. It will quantify the potential impact of introducing a CBDC on the financial system and monetary policy transmission using a model specifically calibrated and estimated for Bahrain. It finds that a CBDC's perceived utility by the population is key for wide adoption. While high adoption and remuneration can help enhance monetary policy transmission, they may imply a drag on banking system profitability. A careful and analytically informed design could enhance adoption while limiting risks to financial stability.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The Selected Issues paper discusses United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) focus on reforms for productive and greener growth. This paper aims to quantify the potential long-term growth and productivity gains from ongoing structural reform efforts. Facilitating green and sustainable private finance would reduce the direct fiscal burdens of investment needs and help promote a smooth transition to a lower carbon future. The UAE has recently signed or started negotiations for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with eleven countries. Depending on the UAE’s ability to further attract foreign direct investment, the reduction of tariffs, especially on intermediate inputs, can significantly lift long-term growth through stronger competition, access to a higher number of varieties and quality of inputs, and transfer of technology. Developing and scaling up private green and sustainable finance, as well as creating an enabling environment for smooth energy transition, would reduce direct fiscal costs, increase efficiency of green investments, and preserve public financial wealth while delivering on growth and Net Zero ambitions.