Middle East and Central Asia > Saudi Arabia

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Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Ms. Lisa L Kolovich and Sakina Shibuya
Gender budgeting uses fiscal policies to promote gender equality and women’s advancement, but is struggling to take hold in the Middle East and Central Asia. We provide an overview of two gender budgeting efforts in the region—Morocco and Afghanistan. Achievements in these two countries include increasing female primary and secondary education enrollment rates and reducing maternal mortality. But the region not only needs to use fiscal policies for women’s advancement, but also reform tax and financial laws, enforce laws that assure women’s safety in public, and change laws that prevent women from taking advantage of employment opportunities.
Reda Cherif, Fuad Hasanov, and Min Zhu

Abstract

The “Gulf Falcons”—the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council—have high living standards as a result of large income flows from oil. The decline of oil prices between summer 2014 and fall 2015 underscores the urgency for the Gulf Falcons to diversify away from their current heavy reliance on oil exports. This book discusses attempts at diversification in the Middle East and North Africa and the complex choices policymakers face. It brings together the views of academics and policymakers to offer practical advice for future efforts to increase productivity growth.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
In June 2010, the International Development Association (IDA) and the IMF agreed that Comoros had met the requirements for reaching the decision point under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. As a result of the debt reconciliation exercise for the completion point, the present value of eligible external debt at end-2009 has been revised upward. Full delivery of HIPC assistance together with additional bilateral assistance beyond HIPC and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) debt relief at the completion point would reduce Comoros’ external debt burden significantly.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper was prepared by staffs of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in connection with the Executive Board’s consideration of Guinea’s Completion Point under the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries and debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. It is based on the information available at the time it was completed on September 11, 2012. The views expressed in this document are those of the staff team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the government of Guinea or the Executive Board of the IMF.
International Monetary Fund
This paper explains Sierra Leone’s completion point under the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). With enhanced HIPC and MDRI assistance, Sierra Leone will achieve a debt profile below the HIPC threshold. Assurances have been obtained regarding participation in the enhanced HIPC Initiative from creditors representing more than 81 percent of the relief to be provided. The sensitivity analysis shows that Sierra Leone’s external debt sustainability could be jeopardized by adverse shocks and financing on nonconcessional terms.
International Monetary Fund
This paper assesses Niger’s performance in meeting the requirements for reaching the completion point under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The paper reviews the status of creditor participation and the delivery of debt relief to Niger under the enhanced HIPC Initiative, presents the results of a new debt sustainability analysis based on the reconciled stock of debt at end-2002, and provides an analysis of the sensitivity of the debt indicators to changes in macroeconomic variables. The paper also focuses on considerations pertaining to a topping up of enhanced HIPC Initiative assistance.
Ms. Nicole Laframboise and Tea Trumbic
Statistics indicate that the economic and social development of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) compares unfavorably with most regions in the world. This paper assesses the influence of government expenditure and taxation policies on the economic and social welfare of women in the region. On the expenditure side, we test the explanatory power of public social spending in the determination of key female social indicators. We find that the relatively weak social outcomes for MENA women are not explained by the amount of government social spending, suggesting the answer lies in the efficiency and reach of present spending. With respect to taxation, the main issues in the literature on gender bias in taxation are highlighted and applied in a general manner to the MENA context. Some simple policy recommendations are suggested.