nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2021‒08‒16
ten papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Structural Sources of Saudi–Iran Rivalry and Competition for the Sphere of Influence By Muhammad Mirza; Hussain Abbas; Irfan Hasnain Qaisrani
  2. Trends in Growth and Labor Markets in the Last Two Decades: Evidence from Tunisia By Kokas, Deeksha; El Lahga, Abdel Rahmen; Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys
  3. Climate change and civil conflict in SSA and MENA: The same phenomena, but different mechanisms? By Khalifa, Sherin; Henning, Christian H. C. A.
  4. Government Intervention and Business Response as Determinants of Business Continuity amid COVID-19: The Case of Jordan and Morocco By Fakhoury, Anthony; Fakih, Ali
  5. Arab Republic of Egypt: 2021 Article IV Consultation, Second Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Arab Republic of Egypt By International Monetary Fund
  6. Identifying the Effects of Sanctions on the Iranian Economy Using Newspaper Coverage By Dario Laudati; M. Hashem Pesaran
  7. What Drives Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen? An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamics of Coalition Airstrikes, Houthi Attacks, and the Oil Market By Dawud Ansari; Mariza Montes de Oca Leon; Helen Schlüter
  8. Empirical study of barriers to women's financial inclusion in Morocco By Bouchra Benyacoub
  9. Are Moroccan Universities Ready for Knowledge Management By Yassine Boussenna; Ouael El Kharraz
  10. L'impact du Brexit sur Israël et les États arabes voisins en période de crise du COVID-19 By Kohnert, Dirk

  1. By: Muhammad Mirza (School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i Azam University); Hussain Abbas (The Islamia University of Bahawalpur - IUB (PAKISTAN)); Irfan Hasnain Qaisrani (Bahria University)
    Abstract: Saudi Arabia and Iran are engaged in a strenuous competition in the Middle East to protect and promote their respective spheres of influence, to each other's detriment. This qualitative study traces the structural sources of this competition while taking cue from the history. It argues that demise of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's plunging into civil war, and Arab Spring leading to violent movements in Syria, Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen accentuated Saudi–Iran competition in the region. Study finds that the sources of their rivalry lie at structural level and can be understood by focusing upon their aspiration for the Muslim world leadership, religio-sectarianism, antithetical governance structure, and Iranian nuclear program.
    Abstract: L'Arabie saoudite et l'Iran se livrent une concurrence acharnée au Moyen-Orient pour protéger et promouvoir leurs sphères d'influence respectives, au détriment l'un de l'autre. Cette étude qualitative retrace les sources structurelles de cette compétition en s'inspirant de l'histoire. Il fait valoir que la disparition de Saddam Hussein, la plongée de l'Irak dans la guerre civile et le printemps arabe entraînant des mouvements violents en Syrie, en Libye, à Bahreïn et au Yémen ont accentué la concurrence entre l'Arabie saoudite et l'Iran dans la région. Une étude révèle que les sources de leur rivalité se situent au niveau structurel et peuvent être comprises en se concentrant sur leur aspiration au leadership mondial musulman, au sectarisme religieux, à la structure de gouvernance antithétique et au programme nucléaire iranien.
    Keywords: Saudi Arabia,Iran,Middle East,sphere of influence,proxy warfare,sectarianism,Iranian nuclear program
    Date: 2021–07
  2. By: Kokas, Deeksha (World Bank); El Lahga, Abdel Rahmen (University of Tunis); Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys (World Bank)
    Abstract: Tunisia's GDP contracted by -8.8 percent in 2020, the worst performance since gaining independence in 1956. The poverty rate in Tunisia could reach at least 20.9, the same level recorded in 2010, and as high as 25 percent according to various estimates (Kokas et al., 2020); while inequality could reach an unprecedented Gini level of 0.41. While Tunisia has faced difficult political, economic and social challenges—in addition to the global COVID-19 pandemic—Tunisia's performance was below peer countries even during periods of strong growth. All economic sectors in Tunisia have declined, except agriculture, and structural transformation has been weak. Nearly 68 percent of workers are employed in sectors with the lowest productivity. Youth and women have been especially left behind as job growth has not kept pace with university graduates and growth in the working-age population: early 32 percent of Tunisian youth were "Not in Education, Employment, or Training" (NEET), and female labor force participation (FLFP) of 29 percent remains among the lowest in the world. Clearly, key labor market challenges in terms of poor job creation, and low quality of job have not seen much progress since the Arab Revolution. This paper aims to shed light on the main obstacles to creating sufficient employment and addressing labor market distortions in Tunisia, based on several data sources, including latest rounds of labor force surveys, and helps recognize issues that require immediate policy attention in the labor market in Tunisia.
    Keywords: labor markets, employment, Tunisia
    JEL: J31 F16
    Date: 2021–07
  3. By: Khalifa, Sherin; Henning, Christian H. C. A.
    Abstract: In this paper, the mechanisms of climate change impacts on the incidence of civil conflict are tested separately in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) compared to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for the period 1981 to 2015. We draw several conclusions: (i) Climate has a significant impact on economic development, through economic growth rate in the MENA, and food production in SSA. (ii) Economic growth rate and food production index are significant indicators for social stability reduce the risk of civil conflict, in SSA and MENA, respectively. (iii) A direct impact of climate change on civil conflict is identified. (iv) Conflict in the previous year increases the probability of civil conflict in SSA by 0.30 pp, and in the MENA by 0.50 pp. Moreover, as the type of political system and accountability are important control variables in SSA, water availability reduces the risks of conflict in the MENA region. However, there appears to be evidence of different mechanisms in different regions. However, the identification of stable mechanisms needs to be precisely addressed in future work.
    Keywords: Climate impact mechanisms,conflict,economic development,MENA,SSA
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Fakhoury, Anthony (Lebanese American University); Fakih, Ali (Lebanese American University)
    Abstract: This paper provides new insights into the role of governments and businesses in responding to pandemics in the Arab region. It uses the COVID-19 World Bank Enterprise Survey Follow-up dataset to examine the degree of business endurance in Jordan and Morocco amid the pandemic. Relying on the probit regressions, the empirical findings suggest that businesses that assumed resilient strategies such as establishing an online presence and converting production are more likely to remain open, whereas firms that adopted remote working are less likely to survive. This is due to the unpreparedness of firms and the limited availability of technologies in Jordan and Morocco for teleworking. Further, firms that expected future government supports are more likely to report closure. Finally, our results do not provide evidence that government grants and measures and the level of online sales are statistically significant in our model. The model used also offers further testable hypotheses for future research to comprehend the significance of the response of businesses to unprecedented shocks.
    Keywords: business continuity, business response, government intervention, remote working, COVID-19, Jordan, Morocco
    JEL: H11 H12 O53
    Date: 2021–07
  5. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: The economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year has been well-managed by the authorities. Timely and prudent fiscal and monetary easing shielded the economy from the full brunt of the crisis, while alleviating the health and social impact of the shock. Sound economic policies helped deliver macroeconomic stabilization, safeguard debt sustainability, and preserve investor confidence. While growth is expected to rebound in FY2021/22, the outlook is still clouded by uncertainty related to the pandemic and the pace of vaccinations. High public debt and large gross financing needs leave Egypt vulnerable to external shocks or changes in financial market conditions for EMs. Near-term fiscal and monetary policies should thus continue to support the recovery without accumulating undue imbalances.
    Date: 2021–07–22
  6. By: Dario Laudati; M. Hashem Pesaran
    Abstract: This paper considers how sanctions affected the Iranian economy using a novel measure of sanctions intensity based on daily newspaper coverage. It finds sanctions to have significant effects on exchange rates, inflation, and output growth, with the Iranian rial over-reacting to sanctions, followed up with a rise in inflation and a fall in output. In absence of sanctions, Iran’s average annual growth could have been around 4 - 5 per cent, as compared to the 3 per cent realized. Sanctions are also found to have adverse effects on employment, labor force participation, secondary and high-school education, with such effects amplified for females.
    Keywords: newspaper coverage, identification of direct and indirect effects of sanctions, Iran output growth, exchange rate depreciation and inflation, labor force participation and employment, secondary education, and gender bias
    JEL: E31 E65 F43 F51 F53 O11 O19 O53
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Dawud Ansari; Mariza Montes de Oca Leon; Helen Schlüter
    Abstract: Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a foreign military intervention against the Houthi movement, which took over major parts of Yemen. The intervention, which manifests mainly in airstrikes, has attracted widespread controversy in media and politics as well as a large body of (qualitative) academic literature discussing its background and ways to escape it. Complementary to these efforts and connecting to the literature on oil and conflict, this study provides unique quantitative insights into what drives the extent of military interaction. We use a vector autoregressive (VAR) model to analyse the interactions between Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, gains of the Houthi movement on Yemeni ground, their attacks on Saudi Arabian soil, and crude oil prices. Our approach builds on high-resolution data from the Yemen Data Project and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. Our results show not only that the airstrike campaign has been factually impotent to repulse the Houthi movement but also that the movement’s expansion in Yemen has not driven Saudi airstrikes. These findings draw both suitability and justification of the intervention further into question. Moreover, although the data fail to show that oil price levels drive the developments, our model identifies oil price volatility as a determinant for the airstrikes. However, the intervention has, in turn, no significant effect on oil markets. Besides adding to the academic discourse on oil and conflict, our results have implications for energy and climate policy: a coordinated transition might not deteriorate regional security, while uncertainty and fluctuations can increase conflict potential.
    Keywords: Saudi Arabia; Yemen war; VAR model; oil prices; military conflict; regime legitimacy
    JEL: C32 F51 Q34 Q54
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Bouchra Benyacoub (USMBA - Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah)
    Abstract: Financial inclusion is the set of mechanisms put in place to enable individuals and businesses, which are excluded from the traditional banking circuit, to access and use financial products and services adapted to their needs. Financial inclusion enables poor people to finance their activities, save and provide for their families. Several studies have demonstrated significant impact that access to and use of financial services has on the lives of individuals and businesses, which in turn leads to increased savings, productive investment, consumption, poverty reduction and women's empowerment. Poor and vulnerable people, especially women, are the most excluded and face great difficulties in accessing formal financial services. The gender gap is wider in Morocco than in similar countries: only 34% of women have access to a bank account compared to 66% of men. Financial inclusion is therefore both an opportunity and a necessity, but is nevertheless hindered by a number of obstacles. The objective of this study is to map out and analyze the barriers to women's financial inclusion through a quantitative study using SPSS software. The study found that the main barriers to women's financial inclusion include their lack of knowledge of financial services, cultural or religious factors, and lack of provisions or aversion to credit. In order to strengthen women's financial inclusion, it is necessary to develop financial services that meet the needs of all social categories and particularly women, the popularization of financial services and products for women, and financial education, which is one of the pillars of financial inclusion, Finally, the use of mobile banking, which is considered a gas pedal of access to and use of financial services, consists of banking transactions carried out from a cell phone, which makes it possible to compensate for the low penetration of formal financial services and to remove the barriers imposed by traditional channels that penalize a large clientele, particularly women.
    Abstract: Déclaration de divulgation : L'auteur n'a pas connaissance de quelconque financement qui pourrait affecter l'objectivité de cette étude. Conflit d'intérêts : L'auteurs ne signale aucun conflit d'intérêts. Citer cet article Benyacoub, B. (2021). Étude empirique sur les freins à l'inclusion financière des femmes au Maroc. L'inclusion financière est l'ensemble des dispositifs mis en place pour permettre aux particuliers et aux entreprises, qui sont exclus du circuit bancaire classique, d'accéder et d'utiliser des produits et services financiers adaptés à leurs besoins. L'inclusion financière permet aux populations pauvres de financer leurs activités, d'épargner et de subvenir aux besoins de leur famille. Plusieurs études Cull et al. (2014) ont prouvé l'impact significatif de l'accès et de l'utilisation des services financiers sur la vie des particuliers et des entreprises ce qui va entrainer par la suite à la croissance de l'épargne, l'augmentation de l'investissement productif, de la consommation, la réduction de la pauvreté et de l'autonomisation des femmes. Les personnes pauvres et vulnérables, en particulier les femmes sont les plus exclues et font face à de grandes difficultés pour accéder aux services financiers formels. L'écart entre les hommes et les femmes est plus important au Maroc. Selon BAM, (2019), seulement 34% des femmes marocaines ont accès à un compte bancaire contre 66% des hommes. L'inclusion financière est donc une opportunité et une nécessité, mais se trouve néanmoins freinée par un certain nombre d'obstacles. L'objectif de cette étude est d'étaler et d'analyser les entraves à l'inclusion financière des femmes à travers une étude quantitative en utilisant le logiciel SPSS. Cette étude a montré que parmi les principaux obstacles à l'inclusion financière des femmes : leur ignorance des services financiers, les facteurs culturels ou religieux, manque de provisions ou aversion aux crédits. Pour renforcer l'inclusion financière des femmes, il faut améliorer la qualité des services financiers afin qu'ils correspondent aux besoins de toutes les classes sociales et particulièrement des femmes, la vulgarisation de services et des produits financiers destinés aux femmes, l'éducation financière, qui constitue un des piliers de l'inclusion financière, ce qui permet aux femmes de connaitre les produits et services financiers et les aide à prendre des décisions financières avec moindres risques et enfin l'utilisation du Mobile Banking qui est considéré comme un accélérateur de l'accès et de l'utilisation des services financiers, qui consiste en des transactions bancaires effectuées depuis un téléphone mobile qui permet de palier à la faible pénétration des services financiers formels et lever les barrières imposées par les circuits classiques qui pénalisent une large clientèle en particulier les femmes.
    Keywords: Financial education,Access to Finance,Accès Au Financement,Education Financière,Inclusion Financière
    Date: 2021–07–26
  9. By: Yassine Boussenna (UAE, ENCG Tanger -Groupe de recherche "Management & Systèmes d'information"-); Ouael El Kharraz
    Abstract: throughout the literature, several factors affect positively KM initiatives in universities are discussed. Some of these are the same as those found for private organizations and others are specific to public organizations. Most authors cite the organizational culture and structure. The main objective of this study was to verify the presence of success factors in KM implementation at the Moroccan universities via Abdelmalek Essaadi University subject of this work. through a deductive reasoning approach and a quantitative working method, Using the questionnaire as a tool to collect data from a proportional random and representative sample of 88 teacher-researchers from the different institutions of the university under study. The study found a positive relationship between the requirements for Knowledge management (organizational culture, organizational structure,) and KM application in Moroccan universities with a Pearson correlation rate R = 0.712 For organizational culture and 0.576 for organizational structure. also, the results obtained show insufficiency presence of initiatives for a knowledge management implementation, with an average of 2.02 for organizational structure, and 1.89 concerning organizational culture according to the university's teachers.
    Abstract: Dans l'ensemble de la littérature, plusieurs facteurs affectant positivement les initiatives de GC dans les universités sont discutés. Certains d'entre eux sont les mêmes que ceux que l'on trouve pour les organisations privées et d'autres sont spécifiques aux organisations publiques. La plupart des auteurs citent la culture et la structure organisationnelles. L'objectif principal de cette étude était de vérifier la présence de facteurs de succès dans la mise en œuvre de la GC dans les universités marocaines via l'université Abdelmalek Essaadi objet de ce travail. à travers une approche de raisonnement déductif et une méthode de travail quantitative, En utilisant le questionnaire comme outil de collecte de données auprès d'un échantillon aléatoire proportionnel et représentatif de 88 enseignants-chercheurs des différents établissements de l'université étudiée. L'étude a trouvé une relation positive entre les exigences de la gestion des connaissances (culture organisationnelle, structure organisationnelle,) et l'application de la gestion des connaissances dans les universités marocaines avec un taux de corrélation de Pearson R = 0.712 pour la culture organisationnelle et 0.576 pour la structure organisationnelle. Aussi, les résultats obtenus montrent une présence insuffisante d'initiatives pour une mise en œuvre de la gestion des connaissances, avec une moyenne de 2.02 pour la structure organisationnelle, et 1.89 concernant la culture organisationnelle selon les enseignants de l'université.
    Keywords: organizational culture,organizational structure,knowledge management
    Date: 2021–07–20
  10. By: Kohnert, Dirk
    Abstract: ABSTRACT & RÉSUMÉ & ZUSAMMENFASSUNG : The combined impact of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic on British foreign- and trade relations to Israel and its Arab neighbours constitute a particularly sensitive case. A destabilization of these countries could impact seriously stability and security, not just of the Middle-East region, but on the whole world. So far, the preliminary effects are ambivalent. Whereas Britons entertained reasoned hope for a ‘Corona miracle’ and a marvellous economic recovery in 2021, the prospects for Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt were less rosy. Presumably, Brexit is likely to harm the United Kingdom in the medium and long run. The post-Brexit impact on Israel and its Arab neighbours will be negative as well, but probably only be felt in the medium and long term also. However, the direct and indirect negative effects of the global COVID-19 crisis will by far outdo the Brexit impact. RÉSUMÉ : L'impact combiné du Brexit et de la pandémie de COVID-19 sur les relations étrangères et commerciales britanniques avec Israël et ses voisins arabes constitue un cas particulièrement sensible. Une déstabilisation de ces pays pourrait avoir de graves répercussions sur la stabilité et la sécurité, non seulement de la région du Moyen-Orient, mais du monde entier. Jusqu'à présent, les effets préliminaires sont ambivalents. Alors que les Britanniques nourrissaient un espoir raisonné d'un « miracle de Corona » et d'une merveilleuse reprise économique en 2021, les perspectives pour Israël, les territoires palestiniens occupés, le Liban, la Jordanie et l'Égypte étaient moins roses. Vraisemblablement, le Brexit est susceptible de nuire au Royaume-Uni à moyen et long terme. L'impact post-Brexit sur Israël et ses voisins arabes sera également négatif, mais ne se fera probablement sentir qu'à moyen et long terme également. Cependant, l'effet négatif direct et indirect de la crise mondiale du COVID-19 dépassera de loin l'impact du Brexit. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ZUSAMMENFASSUNG : Die gemeinsamen Auswirkungen des Brexits und der COVID-19-Pandemie auf die britischen Außen- und Handelsbeziehungen zu Israel und seinen arabischen Nachbarn sind ein besonders heikler Fall. Eine Destabilisierung dieser Länder könnte die Stabilität und Sicherheit nicht nur im Nahen Osten, sondern auf der ganzen Welt ernsthaft gefährden. Bisher erscheinen die vorläufigen Effekte ambivalent. Während die Briten begründete Hoffnungen auf ein „Corona-Wunder“ und eine erstaunliche wirtschaftliche Erholung im Jahr 2021 hegen, sind die Aussichten für Israel, die besetzten palästinensischen Gebiete, den Libanon, Jordanien und Ägypten weniger rosig. Vermutlich wird der Brexit dem Vereinigten Königreich mittel- und langfristig schaden. Die post-Brexit Auswirkungen auf Israel und seine arabischen Nachbarn werden ebenfalls negativ s, aber vermutlich ebenfalls nur mittel- und langfristig zu spüren sein. Die direkten und indirekten negativen Effekte der weltweiten COVID-19-Krise werden jedoch die Folgen des Brexits bei weitem übertreffen.
    Keywords: Brexit, pandémie de COVID-19, Corona, croissance économique, Israël, Palestine, Liban, Jordanie, Egypte, Royaume-Uni, commerce international, zone de libre-échange, union douanière, Anglosphère
    JEL: F13 F15 F22 F52 F63 F68 I14 N1 N40 O24 O5 Z13
    Date: 2021–08–08

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