nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2021‒06‒28
twelve papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Economic Analysis of Gas Pipeline Trade Cooperation: A GCC Case Study By Bertrand Rioux; Rami Shabaneh; Steve Griffiths
  2. Impact of COVID-19 on Egypt’s dairy and artichoke value-chains: Qualitative findings from rapid value chain assessments By Abdelaziz, Fatma; Abay, Kibrom A.; El-Enbaby, Hoda; Breisinger, Clemens; Kurdi, Sikandra
  3. Land scarcity and input intensification in smallholder irrigated agriculture in Egypt By Abay, Kibrom A.; El-Enbaby, Hoda; Abdelfattah, Lina; Breisinger, Clemens
  4. The More the Gloomier: development of informal employment and its effect on wages in Turkey By Duman, Anil; Duman, Alper
  5. Climate change adaptation strategies for Egypt’s agricultural sector: A ‘suite of technologies’ approach By Perez, Nicostrato D.; Kassim, Yumna; Ringler, Claudia; Thomas, Timothy S.; ElDidi, Hagar
  6. Economic Diversification Under Saudi Vision 2030 By David Havrlant; Abdulelah Darandary
  7. Climate change and Egypt’s agriculture By Perez, Nicostrato D.; Kassim, Yumna; Ringler, Claudia; Thomas, Timothy S.; ElDidi, Hagar
  8. The Palestine Currency Board: Its History and Currency By Berlin, Howard
  9. Sudan: First Review Under the Staff-Monitored Program-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Sudan: First Review Under the Staff-Monitored Program-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Sudan By International Monetary Fund
  10. Sudan: Enhanced Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries Initiative-Preliminary Document By International Monetary Fund
  11. COVID–19 Exposes the Need for Public Health Preventive Medicine Physicians: A Proposal for A Gazan PHPM Residency Program By Sabra, ZM; Gomez, Saylin; Mahayosnand, Ponn P
  12. A Quantitative Model of the Oil Tanker Market in the Arabian Gulf By Kilian, Lutz; Nomikos, Nikos; Zhou, Xiaoqing

  1. By: Bertrand Rioux; Rami Shabaneh; Steve Griffiths (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center)
    Abstract: Natural gas development across the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain —has become a priority for achieving long-term energy security and for supporting economic diversification initiatives (Shabaneh et al. 2020).
    Keywords: Natural Gas, Infrastructure, GCC Countries
    Date: 2021–03–23
  2. By: Abdelaziz, Fatma; Abay, Kibrom A.; El-Enbaby, Hoda; Breisinger, Clemens; Kurdi, Sikandra
    Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis is having strong impacts on the Egyptian economy, but these impacts differ strongly across sectors.1 Based on scenarios run using a Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) multiplier model of Egypt’s economy, COVID-19 is estimated to have resulted in an 8.6 percent decline in Egypt’s GDP during the 4th quarter of FY 2019/20 (April to June). The services sector was hit hardest, falling by 10.9 percent, followed by industry, which contracted by 8.3 percent. Agriculture was the most resilient sector, although there are large differences in the relative impact of COVID across agricultural subsectors.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, Coronavirus; coronavirus disease; Coronavirinae; COVID-19; value chains; dairy industry; models; artichoke; SAM multipliers; Social Accounting Matrix (SAM)
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Abay, Kibrom A.; El-Enbaby, Hoda; Abdelfattah, Lina; Breisinger, Clemens
    Abstract: Increasing population pressure and population density in many African countries are inducing land scarcity and land constraints. These are expected to trigger various responses and adaptation strategies, including agricultural intensification induced by land scarcity, as postulated by the Boserup hypothesis. However, most empirical evaluations of the hypothesis come from rainfed agriculture and mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, where application of agricultural inputs remains historically low. Agricultural intensification practices and the relevance of the Boserup hypothesis in irrigated agriculture (and where application of improved inputs is high) remains unexplored. We investigate the implication of land scarcity on agricultural intensification and the relevance of the Boserup hypothesis in the context of Egypt, where agriculture is dominated by irrigation and input application rates are much higher than elsewhere in Africa. We find that land scarcity increases overapplication of nitrogen fertilizer relative to crop-specific agronomic recommendations. This implies that land constraints remain as important challenges for sustainable agricultural intensification. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that such overapplication of nitrogen fertilizers is not yield-enhancing, but, rather, yield-reducing. We also document that land scarcity impedes mechanization of agriculture.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, AFRICA, land resources, sustainability, smallholders, irrigated farming, agriculture, farming systems, intensification
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Duman, Anil; Duman, Alper
    Abstract: Various studies found wage gaps between formal and informal sector workers even after controlling for a number of individual and firm level characteristics. It has also been shown that earnings differentials across these sectors are quite stable over the years. While there is limited amount of research considering the same issues focusing on Turkish labor market, the development of wage gap between formal and informal employment has not been examined. In our paper, we carry this analysis for Turkey and estimate the wage gap between formal and informal sector workers by utilizing the Household Labor Force Survey (LFS) for the period of 2005 and 2019. There are three main findings; first, decline in informal employment is not uniform and especially after 2012 there is a slight increase in the share of informal jobs at the lower end of wage distribution. Second, we demonstrate that returns to informality vary significantly across quantiles even after a matching technique through inverse probability treatment weights are considered. While at the upper end of the distribution, the penalty is extremely small and stable over the years, at the bottom end, the informal sector considerably reduces wages, and the effect becomes larger over time. The negative and increasing penalty is observable well before the refugee inflows. The last part of our analysis looks at the occupational composition within formal and informal sectors over time and points out that the rise of white collar low skilled service (WCLS) jobs among informal employment is mainly responsible for the increasing wage gap for the workers at the bottom end.
    Keywords: wage gap,quantile regression,informal sector,compensation,skills,occupation
    JEL: J31 C31 O17 J46
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Perez, Nicostrato D.; Kassim, Yumna; Ringler, Claudia; Thomas, Timothy S.; ElDidi, Hagar
    Abstract: Climate change negatively affects Egypt’s agriculture sector. This brief summarizes the results of a modeling exercise to examine a range of climate change adaptation approaches to counteract agricultural productivity declines. Rather than simulating a single technology, a ‘suite of technologies’ approach was used. For several food crops, none of the technology suites, individually or in combination, are shown to counteract the adverse impacts of climate change. For these crops, which include maize, oilseeds, pulses, and sugar, even stacking of technologies will not return productivity to pre-climate change levels. However, for fruits and vegetables, potatoes, rice, and wheat, crops less adversely affected by climate change, increased investments in climate changeresponsive crop traits, soil fertility improvement, water management, crop protection, or a combination of these technologies can counteract the adverse impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity. From a policy perspective, strong cooperation with the rest of the world on climate change adaptation will ultimately benefit Egyptian consumers. Doing so will reduce disruption of global food markets, which is of particular importance for countries, like Egypt, that are well integrated into those markets. In particular, Egypt’s economy and all Egyptian consumers benefit from the importation of lower-value, high water-consuming cereals under the hotter and drier conditions that can be expected in Egypt in the future due to climate change.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, AFRICA, climate change, agriculture, agricutural sector, agricultural productivity, food production, food prices, technology, suite of technologies
    Date: 2021
  6. By: David Havrlant; Abdulelah Darandary (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center)
    Abstract: The last decade has brought a row of substantial changes that have profound implications for the hydrocarbon resource-rich economies. The general answer to a changing environment is: Adapt! From the macroeconomic perspective, this means diversifying the economy to broaden the income base and reduce the dependence on oil revenues. This discussion paper examines the preferred diversification paths for the Saudi economy, with a focus on the foreseen adjustments in the sectoral composition along with broader macroeconomic shifts. The evaluation of the expected diversification impacts is based on the updated Vision 2030 Input-Output Table that maps the changing economic structure over the coming decade. The advances in economic diversification are measured by applying the Shannon-Weaver index to sectoral GDP and household income. We also conduct a sensitivity analysis to examine the effects of the foreseen diversification on the resilience of the Saudi economy to external shocks.
    Keywords: Economic Diversification
    Date: 2021–04–14
  7. By: Perez, Nicostrato D.; Kassim, Yumna; Ringler, Claudia; Thomas, Timothy S.; ElDidi, Hagar
    Abstract: With climate change, Egypt’s already arid climate will face even higher temperatures and lower rainfall over key agricultural areas, requiring further urgent adaptation investments. Data from three general circulation models of climate were used to better understand the likely effects of climate changes on Egypt’s agricultural sector. The findings show largely adverse biophysical effects of climate change by 2050. Compared to a no-climate change scenario, yields for food crops are projected to decline by over 10 percent by 2050 due to higher temperatures and water stress as well as increased salinity of irrigation water. The highest biophysical yield declines are estimated for maize, sugar crops, and fruits and vegetables. Moreover, due to the country’s dependence on food imports, Egypt is not only affected by climate change impacts at home, but also by impacts in other food producing countries. Climate change-induced increases in food prices will reduce Egypt’s food import demand, while also dampening demand for Egypt’s exports. The implications for Egypt are tighter food markets with both reduced domestic production and increased difficulties to import food making it more difficult to augment domestic food supplies. This situation suggests the need for investments in climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector. Global cooperation to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is also warranted given the high cost to Egypt’s society from adverse climate change impacts worldwide.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, AFRICA, climate change, agriculture, agricultural sector, agricultural productivity, food production, food prices, policies
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Berlin, Howard (The Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise)
    Abstract: When the British defeated the Ottoman Turks and the armistice was signed on October 31, 1918, Palestine, part of the defeated Ottoman Empire, was administratively divided into the Mutasarrifate (a sub province) of Jerusalem and the Vilayets (a major administrative district or province) of Beirut and Damascus. Palestine was then governed by the British, first as a military occupation, and then as a Mandate granted to them as a Trust by the League of Nations. Prior to 1927, Palestine had no currency that was solely its own, but rather coins and banknotes of many other countries that were used in Palestine. These were mostly those of Turkey, Egypt, France, Great Britain, India, Germany, Russia, Austria, and the United States. The author of this working paper traces the need for a Palestine currency and the formation of the Palestine Currency Board, which remained in effect until March 31, 1952, nearly four years after the State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948. Parts of this working paper was adapted from the author’s book: The Coins and Banknotes of Palestine Under the British Mandate, 1927-1947, McFarland & Company, Inc. (2001) and is built on the writings of numismatic researchers Jack H. Fisher, Esq. (deceased) and Raphael Dabbah, both of whom the author has had the pleasure of knowing for many years. Where verbatim passages are taken from British sources, the British spellings have been retained. Unless credited otherwise, all images of coins and currency notes were from the author’s collection.
    Keywords: Palestine Mandate; currency board; coins; currency notes
    JEL: E58 N15
    Date: 2021–06–18
  9. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: The transitional government embarked on an IMF-supported Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) in 2020 to help address major macroeconomic imbalances caused by decades of mismanagement, lay the groundwork for inclusive growth, and establish a track record of sound policies required for eventual HIPC debt relief. The challenges facing the authorities remain significant, but there have been improvements in both the domestic and external environment. International efforts to support Sudan have gained momentum and were bolstered by the removal of Sudan from the U.S. list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSTL), and the identification of bridge financiers for Sudan’s arrears clearance to IDA and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Meanwhile, the government has moved forward on important structural reforms, and on February 8, 2021 the signatories to the October peace agreement were brought into a newly formed cabinet which reaffirmed its commitment to the economic reform program.
    Keywords: government securities market; Sudan's Staff-Monitored Program; reform implementation; B. Policy coordination; economic situation in Sudan; Exchange rate unification; Exchange rates; Currencies; Market exchange rates; Commercial banks; Global;Monetary base
    Date: 2021–04–21
  10. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Sudan, with the support of the international community, is seeking to implement an ambitious reform program to address major macroeconomic imbalances and support sustainable, inclusive growth. A new transitional government was established in the wake of the 2019 revolution with the mandate to carry out sweeping reforms to reverse decades of economic and social decline. The government is pursuing a transformational reform agenda focused on: (i) achieving internal peace based on inclusion, regional equity, and justice; (ii) stabilizing the economy and correcting the large macroeconomic imbalances; and (iii) providing a foundation for future rapid growth, development, and poverty reduction. The government has achieved important milestones, most prominently a peace agreement with almost all internal armed opposition groups in October 2020 to end 17 years of conflict. It has also agreed to ambitious reforms and policy adjustments in the context of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Monitored Program (SMP) that meets the Upper Credit Tranche (UCT) conditionality standard and an International Development Association (IDA) Development Policy Financing (DPF) operation. Furthermore, on December 14, 2020, Sudan was officially removed from the United States State Sponsors of Terrorism List (SSTL), ending almost three decades of international isolation. While positive changes are underway, political contestation over power sharing arrangements remains acute. It is critical for Sudan to take advantage of a still favourable political economy to tackle its macroeconomic imbalances and put itself on a sustainable development trajectory.
    Keywords: transition government; Point trigger; HIPC decision point; analysis in the staff report; enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries; staff recommendation; Debt relief; Arrears; Poverty reduction strategy; Global
    Date: 2021–03–26
  11. By: Sabra, ZM; Gomez, Saylin; Mahayosnand, Ponn P
    Abstract: Executive Summary The COVID-19 pandemic exposes the need for public health preventive medicine (PHPM) physicians in Gaza, Palestine. The lack of public health education in Gaza causes its population, physicians included, to be unaware of the necessity of preventative medicine, especially during this pandemic. We propose that the Palestine Medical Council (the Council) implements the following policy steps: 1. Approve the Gaza Medical Reserve Corps (the Reserves) as creators, trainers, and hosts of Gaza’s PHPM residency program; 2. Certify the PHPM board exams, assist in medical education, and issue the specialty license; and 3. Support the Reserve’s efforts to gain financial sustainability and adhere to health laws and ethics. According to Articles 4 and 5 of the Council’s Objectives and Functions, the Council has the authority to execute these steps. In doing so, PHPM physicians will be able to provide Gazans with primary care and telehealth services currently unavailable and relieve overworked physicians who average 113 daily medical consultations. The Reserves currently serve three of PHPM physicians’ four duties: education and outreach, research and development, and public health policy and advocacy. PHPM physicians will not be able to fulfil its fourth duty of providing health services without the Council’s support. By helping establish the PHPM specialty, the Council will assist in strengthening Gaza’s healthcare infrastructure during this critical time, which will, in turn, aid in the betterment of Gaza's overall health.
    Date: 2021–06–06
  12. By: Kilian, Lutz; Nomikos, Nikos; Zhou, Xiaoqing
    Abstract: Using a novel dataset, we develop a structural model of the Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) market between the Arabian Gulf and the Far East. We study how fluctuations in oil tanker rates, oil exports, shipowner profits, and bunker fuel prices are determined by shocks to the supply and demand for oil tankers, to the utilization of tankers, and to bunker fuel costs. Our analysis shows that time charter rates respond only slightly to fuel cost shocks. In response to higher fuel costs, voyage profits decline, as cost shocks are only partially passed on to round-trip voyage rates. Oil exports from the Arabian Gulf also decline, reflecting lower demand for VLCCs. Positive utilization shocks are associated with higher profits, a slight increase in time charter rates and slightly lower fuel prices and oil export volumes. Tanker supply and tanker demand shocks have persistent effects on time charter rates, round-trip voyage rates, the volume of oil exports, fuel prices, and profits with the expected sign.
    Keywords: bunker fuel; crude oil; exports; Pass-Through; profits; shipping; tanker; time charter; VLCC; voyage
    JEL: Q43 R41
    Date: 2020–05

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