Mishel Ghassibe, Maximiliano Appendino, and Samir Elsadek Mahmoudi
This paper offers empirical evidence that greater financial inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can promote higher economic growth and employment, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. First, we show that countries with higher SME financial inclusion exhibit more effective monetary policy transmission and tax collection. Second, we find substantial employment and labor productivity growth gains at the firm level from access to credit, gains that are higher for SMEs. We also obtain evidence of a substantial positive impact on SME employment and labor productivity growth from improved credit bureau coverage and insolvency regimes. Finally, cross-country aggregate evidence confirms the employment and growth gains from SME financial inclusion, which appear larger in the Middle East and Central Asia than in other regions.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This chapter reviews developments in GDP over the past several decades. The analysis shows that accumulation of labor and capital explains the bulk of overall output growth since 1990, with changes in total factor productivity playing only a minor role. Moreover, while increases in total factor productivity (TFP) during 1990-2009 have been close to the worldwide average, the pace of TFP growth fell during the 2000s. This suggests scope for increasing the efficiency of factor markets and highlights the importance of recent reforms to promote knowledge-based activity.
In this paper we contribute to the empirical literature on growth in the MENA region by attempting to quantify the impact of the various constraints faced by local businesses highlighted by the World Bank’s Business Enterprise surveys. To the best of our knowledge this dataset has not been used in any empirical analysis looking at the main constraints on growth in the MENA region. Our empirical results suggest that the key direct constraints to growth in the MENA region are difficulties in access to finance, labor skill mismatches and shortages, and electricity constraints.