nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2022‒04‒11
eleven papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. A Tale of Parallel Processes of Gender (In-)Equality: How Big is the Glass Ceilings for Mena Women? By Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal; Pastore, Francesco
  2. Remote sensing data for monitoring agricultural production and economic activity: Application in Egypt By Abay, Kibrom A.; Abdelradi, Fadi; Kassim, Yumna; Guo, Zhe
  3. Inequality and occupational change in times of Revolution: The Tunisian perspective By Marouani, Mohamed Ali; Le, Phuong Minh
  4. Modeling and Forecasting Industrial Electricity Demand for Saudi Arabia: Uncovering Regional Characteristics By Jeyhun Mikayilov; Ryan Alyamani; Abdulelah Darandary; Muhammad Javid; Fakhri Hasanov; Saleh T. AlTurki; Rey B. Arnaiz
  5. Cost-Effectiveness of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies for Reducing Peak Demand By Moncef Krati; Mohammad Aldubyan
  6. The Economics and Resource Potential of Hydrogen Production in Saudi Arabia By Shahid Hasan; Rami Shabaneh
  7. The opportunities and challenges of Industry 4.0 for industrial development: A case study of Morocco's automotive and garment sectors By Auktor, Georgeta Vidican
  8. Political economy of wheat value chains in post-revolution Sudan By Resnick, Danielle
  9. Evaluating cereal market (dis)integration in Sudan By Abay, Kibrom A.; Abdelfattah, Lina Alaaeldin; Breisinger, Clemens; Siddig, Khalid
  10. Distributional consequences of wheat policy in Sudan: A simulation model analysis By Dorosh, Paul A.
  11. Remote sensing data for monitoring agricultural production and economic activity: Application in Egypt [in Arabic] By Abay, Kibrom A.; Abdelradi, Fadi; Kassim, Yumna; Guo, Zhe

  1. By: Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal; Pastore, Francesco
    Abstract: In all the MENA countries considered in this study, namely Jordan Egypt and Tunisia, there has been a significant decrease in the female labor force participation rate over the last two decades. Moreover, existing analysis and the anecdotal evidence suggest that it may be problematic for women to reach a white collar high skill job, also in the more protected public sector, though there is very little empirical evidence on this. By using repeated cro ss sections of individuals covering periods of up to 20 years (for Egypt), we examine the evolution of the glass ceiling problem for women resorting to the matching approach, which, to our knowledge, has never been used in this field. Instead of looking at the gender gap along the wage distribution, we assess the probability to reach the top professions of manager, professional and technician or associate professional. We find a sizeable glass ceiling effect in all the countries considered. It is a persistent phenomenon across all the industrial sectors and the years considered. The present study sheds new light on the glass ceiling effect for woman in the MENA countries, which is relevant also for other countries
    Keywords: Glass ceilings,Woman employment,labor force,Egypt,Jordan,Tunisia
    JEL: J16 J71 K38 O53 P52
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Abay, Kibrom A.; Abdelradi, Fadi; Kassim, Yumna; Guo, Zhe
    Abstract: This policy note showcases two examples on how remote sensing data can be used for monitoring agricultural production and economic activities. The first case aims to generate granular data on agricultural production, which remain scarce in Egypt and the MENA region. The second case demonstrates the potential of remote sensing data to monitor economic activities during the COVID19 pandemic. Based on these data and together with other recent findings, we provide the following recommendations to facilitate post-COVID-19 recovery in Egypt: - Targeting of stimulus and recovery packages based on the economic repercussions experienced across geographies and sectors - Identifying and supporting promising value chains which experienced a significant slowdown in economic activities - Diversifying economic activities and markets to improve the resilience of agri-food systems. - Investment in data infrastructure to monitor and respond to future shocks. This may be supported by scale up of digital solutions, which proved to be effective in sustaining business activities even during the pandemic.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, AFRICA, agricultural production, remote sensing, monitoring, economic activities, Coronavirus, coronavirus disease, Coronavirinae, COVID-19, investment, spatial distribution
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Marouani, Mohamed Ali; Le, Phuong Minh
    Abstract: The public sector plays a large role in many developing economies, but its effect on earnings inequality dynamics has not been widely studied. In this paper, we investigate the earnings inequality trends and their determinants in the decades before and after the Tunisian Revolution, focusing on the impact of public wage and employment policy changes. A recentered-influence function (RIF) decomposition is performed to decompose the change in earnings into wage structure and composition effects and to assess the contribution of various determinants of inequality change. We find that earnings inequality decreased significantly during the period of investigation in Tunisia, mainly due to the decrease in the public-private wage gap and in sector wage gaps on the demand side, and the decreasing education premia on the supply side. The increase in marginal returns to average routine-task intensity jobs, the falling return to experience, and the decreasing regional wage gap also contributed to declining earnings inequality, but to a lesser extent.
    Keywords: wage inequality,Revolution,occupational change,education premium,public wage policy
    JEL: J21 J23 J24 J32 J45
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Jeyhun Mikayilov; Ryan Alyamani; Abdulelah Darandary; Muhammad Javid; Fakhri Hasanov; Saleh T. AlTurki; Rey B. Arnaiz (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center)
    Abstract: The objective of this study is to investigate Saudi Arabia’s industrial electricity consumption at the regional level. We apply structural time series modeling to annual data over the period of 1990 to 2019. In addition to estimating the size and significance of the price and income elasticities for regional industrial electricity demand, this study projects regional industrial electricity demand up to 2030. This is done using estimated equations and assuming different future values for price and income. The results show that the long-run income and price elasticities of industrial electricity demand vary across regions. The underlying energy demand trend analysis indicates some efficiency improvements in industrial electricity consumption patterns in all regions.
    Keywords: Electricity consumption, Electricity demand, Economic Modeling
    Date: 2022–01–13
  5. By: Moncef Krati; Mohammad Aldubyan (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center)
    Abstract: This paper describes an optimization-based approach to evaluate measures providing peak electricity demand reduction cost benefits for Saudi residential buildings. These measures can be categorized as energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) measures. Specifically, this paper models the existing Saudi building stock using 56 housing prototypes based on types, vintages and locations.
    Keywords: Energy Efficiency, Residential Buildings, Electricity demand
    Date: 2021–12–22
  6. By: Shahid Hasan; Rami Shabaneh (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center)
    Abstract: Energy transition discussions, policymakers are increasingly viewing hydrogen as a preferred emissions-free substitute for oil, natural gas and coal in hard-to-abate sectors. However, hydrogen is not a primary energy source but rather is a carrier of energy. Many factors, including its source and the technology used to manufacture it, influence its production costs. Currently, hydrogen manufacturing processes themselves have significant carbon footprints. Thus, for hydrogen to be accepted as a low-carbon fuel source, its production methods must also be decarbonized.
    Keywords: Carbon, Carbon capture and storage, Carbon neutrality
    Date: 2022–03–01
  7. By: Auktor, Georgeta Vidican
    Abstract: The development and application of advanced manufacturing technologies (known as Industry 4.0) have been enabled by the fast-paced process of digital transformation. These transformations are expected to have major implications on the reorganisation of global value chains as well as on labour markets. For late-industrialising countries, Industry 4.0 brings both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, it opens opportunities in terms of improving competitiveness, learning and export markets. On the other hand, however, it may devalue the traditional competitive advantage based on low labour costs, creating difficult-to-tackle challenges on labour markets related to unemployment and new demands for reskilling and upskilling. This paper explores these aspects through the lens of one country, Morocco, and two very different sectors: automotive and apparel. Morocco is a lower-middle-income country that has capitalised on its proximity to Europe and succeeded in developing a dynamic export-oriented automotive industry. The garment sector, which is critical for employment, has been generally neglected by the industrial development strategies. However, Industry 4.0 and its implications on global value chains are likely to affect both sectors, although in different ways. Our analysis clearly shows that interventions must be tailored to the different degrees of technological readiness. The automotive sector is driven more by the needs of major original equipment manufacturers. Therefore, industrial policy should focus on setting the framework conditions, enabling upgrading by investing in research and development, and shifting incentives towards facilitating local suppliers to better integrate with higher-tier suppliers. In the garment sector, policy interventions need to be more comprehensive, from developing a long-term vision to building awareness on technological upgrading and new business models enabled by digitalisation and automation. Moreover, there is extensive scope for industrial policy to contribute to building basic technological and knowledge capabilities all along the garment supply chain and to attracting investment.
    Keywords: industry 4.0,Morocco,automotive,garment
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Resnick, Danielle
    Abstract: Wheat flour and bread have played a central role in Sudan’s political economy throughout the country’s post-independence history. In 2019, increasing bread prices precipitated the protests that ousted the government of Omar al-Bashir. How has Sudan’s recent political transition and economic circumstances impacted distortions within the wheat value chain? What are the policy preferences of relevant stakeholders for improving the affordability of wheat products and the productivity of domestic wheat farmers? This paper addresses these questions by drawing on key informant interviews in Sudan and utilizing a political settlements approach, which captures the underlying distribution of power among elites and citizens. The post-revolution political settlement contains a much broader distribution of power shared between a civilian alliance movement and the military, each of which has distinct interests in the wheat value chain. The paper elucidates the preferences of different stakeholders to address policy distortions and discusses bottlenecks that need to be overcome for those options to be feasible. In doing so, the analysis reveals that, while the policy of subsidizing bread remains contentious, there are broader coalitions for interventions related to regulatory and monitoring reforms, improvements in domestic wheat procurement, enhanced agricultural investments, and targeted cash transfers to cushion subsidy reductions.
    Keywords: REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, cash transfers, wheat, wheat flour, bread, food prices, value chains, trade, social protection, wheat value chain, pre-revolution, political economy
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Abay, Kibrom A.; Abdelfattah, Lina Alaaeldin; Breisinger, Clemens; Siddig, Khalid
    Abstract: This paper evaluates spatial market and price transmission in cereal markets in Sudan, focusing on wheat and sorghum, two major cereal crops. We use comprehensive and long-ranging monthly cereal price data and a multivariate vector of error-correction cointegration models (VECM) to characterize both short-term and long-term price transmissions across local cereal markets. We find that among the 15 local wheat markets and 18 sorghum markets we can only detect significant spatial market integration among 7 wheat and 10 sorghum markets. Despite some strong spatial market integration among a few neighboring markets, there is no market integration between several regions. For example, cereal markets in Darfur are not integrated with cereal markets in the rest of the country. Among integrated markets, we observe significant variations in the strength of price transmission elasticities as well as speed of adjustment to longterm equilibrium, which implies that shocks (and price policies) in some markets can affect only some other markets. Most of the strong price transmission and spatial market dependence follow existing trade flows and road networks, insinuating that infrastructural barriers may be obstructing spatial market integration. We also find that markets in production surplus states are less responsive to price changes in neighboring markets than those located in cereal deficit states. Finally, we also observe relatively stronger spatial integration and short-term adjustment in sorghum markets than wheat markets. Shocks to sorghum prices in sorghum producing markets have permanent impact while shocks to wheat prices in wheat producing markets endure transitory effects. These findings have important policy implications for improving the efficiency of cereal markets in Sudan and other similar settings.
    Keywords: REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, markets, cereals, prices, efficiency, food prices, spatial market integration, cereal markets
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Dorosh, Paul A.
    Abstract: Despite reforms in early 2021, including a devaluation of the currency and a liberalization of imports, there remain significant distortions in Sudan’s wheat value chain, especially related to subsidized sales prices of flatbread. This flatbread subsidy, a key component of wheat policy, is not well-targeted. Calculations based on 2009 national household survey data and current 2021 prices and wheat supply show that urban poor households annually receive slightly less from this subsidy than urban non-poor households (18,900 and 20,800 SDG/capita). Rural poor households receive only 2,700 SDG/capita. This paper presents the results of several simulations of a partial equilibrium model of Sudan’s wheat economy that are designed to analyze the impacts of recent shocks and various policy options. Model simulations show that increased wheat imports, such as those financed by food aid, add to supplies for processing into wheat flour, flatbread, and other wheat products, resulting in lower prices for consumers and increased consumption, but also disincentives for production. A 300,000 ton increase in wheat imports, as occurred in early 2021, results in an 8 percent increase in wheat consumption and a 35 percent decline in the market price of non-flatbread wheat products. Production falls by 12 percent. Since flatbread prices are unchanged, wheat consumption of the urban poor, for whom flatbread is the major wheat product consumed, increases by only 4 percent. Raising flatbread prices by 30 percent to reduce the size of the fiscal subsidy reduces total consumption of flatbread by 17 percent and sharply reduces wheat consumption and real incomes of the urban poor. All households suffer a loss of 41 to 45 percent in the value of flatbread subsidies received. The urban poor experience the largest decline in total consumption of wheat (14 percent) and in total income (11 percent). (The average total income loss for all households is only 3 percent.) Reducing the flatbread subsidy without a compensating income transfer would significantly reduce the welfare of the urban poor and likely threaten political stability. Our results suggest that a combination of key wheat policies involving high levels of imports – including injection of food aid wheat into the economy in late 2020 – and subsidized flatbread will significantly benefit urban poor households. Nonetheless, the are important data gaps on several aspects of the wheat sector, including no recent nationally representative household expenditure survey data. In addition, greater transparency, including publication of quantities and prices of government purchases, sales of wheat and wheat flour, and quantities and prices of subsidized flatbread across the country has the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of the entire wheat sector. As shown in this paper, Sudan’s wheat policies in recent years, such as increased wheat imports, price subsidies in the wheat value chain, and low prices of flatbread, have in general favored consumers, to the detriment of producers. These interventions in the wheat value chain, especially those related to subsidies on flatbread, have especially large effects on the welfare of urban households, making these policies particularly politically sensitive. However, they have entailed high fiscal costs, threatening macro-economic stability and crowding out other possible investments to promote growth and poverty reduction. Careful policy analysis and ongoing monitoring of outcomes and new developments will be needed to help guide the important choices ahead.
    Keywords: REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, wheat, wheat flour, bread, food prices, value chains, trade, models, wheat value chain, model simulation
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Abay, Kibrom A.; Abdelradi, Fadi; Kassim, Yumna; Guo, Zhe
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, AFRICA, agricultural production, remote sensing, monitoring, economic activities, Coronavirus, coronavirus disease, Coronavirinae, COVID-19, investment, spatial distribution
    Date: 2022

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