First Ministerial Meeting, Attracting Investment to MENA Countries
The following recommendations have been elaborated by the Working Groups of the MENAOECD Investment Programme. They complement the Ministerial Declaration which has been supported by participating countries at the MENA Investment Ministerial meeting, 13-14 February 2006 in Jordan. The recommendations have been designed to provide guidance for the future activities of the Working Groups and for the selection of priorities in the National Investment Reform Agendas of MENA countries.
Second Ministerial Meeting, Making Reforms Succeed
The Participating Countries are committed to move forward with comprehensive reforms to enhance their business climate and to promote private sector development.They welcomed the business statement adopted by the MENA-OECD Business Forum held on the 27 November.
MENA-OECD Investment Programme Achievements and Directions
At the beginning of 2000, the MENA region lagged behind other regions in attracting investment flows as compared to other emerging country regions. Taken as a whole, the MENA region attracted approximately 0.6% of global FDI inflows between 1998 and 2000.1 The gap between the income per capita of most Middle East and North African countries and that of advanced industrial nations was wide and had further increased in the 1990s.
Venture Capital Development in MENA Countries
National, regional and international competitiveness of an economy is increasingly connected to the presence of an environment supportive of innovation and risk-taking. Innovation is gaining prominence on agendas of governments throughout the world who increasingly appreciate the need to develop knowledge-based economies as a prerequisite to competitiveness and growth. Given this recognition, it should be of little surprise that policy design to support innovation in the private sector has become a hotly debated issue in both OECD and MENA countries alike. A consensus that public policy has a role in facilitating entrepreneurial activity seems to have emerged. Since a key barrier to entrepreneurship is a lack of capital to formalise creative ideas into concrete and realistic business plans, public sector involvement to bridge the financing gap can be useful.
Towards a New Generation of Foreign Investment Laws
Under international public law, states are sovereign in determining the entry and stay of foreigners including foreign investors. In the global market place, however, countries compete to attract high value-added foreign investment as a key development tool for their economies. In order to make use of their sovereign rights effectively and concurrently attract much needed intra-regional and other foreign investment, a new generation of foreign investment laws are currently emerging in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries participating in the MENA-OECD Investment Programme.
International Investment Agreements Concluded by MENA Countries
The recent increase of FDI in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region demonstrates the emerging consensus among governments and the private sector in MENA countries that the crucial determinants for enhancing investment, in particular the attraction of FDI, include investment-friendly policies and administrative frameworks alongside the development of local markets and institutions.1 A pro-business enabling environment is widely seen as a vital prerequisite to attract FDI and to encourage the vitality of the local private sector.
Policy Advocacy Function of Investment Promotion Agencies and Business Associations in the MENA Region
Policy advocacy for investment climate reforms1 should be a central function of investment promotion agencies (IPAs). Policy Advocacy is traditionally undertaken not only by IPAs but by diverse public and private sector groups, including professional business associations. It is an important component of efforts aimed at enhancing the investment climate in a country.
One-Stop Shops for Business Formation in the MENA Region
Time consuming and burdensome procedures for establishing a business are often cited as obstacles in business surveys on the investment climate in OECD and non-OECD countries alike. Requirements to acquire licenses for establishment and conduct of a business are used by all governments for a variety of reasons. However, amongst OECD members, data suggests that different countries use it to differing degrees: some administer a few hundred licences, while other, several thousand. There is a strong argument to reduce the burden on business caused by excessive use of licenses since they create barriers to new start-ups, hamper innovation and cause market distortions by creating an incentive to the investor to lobby regulators for anti-competitive practices. Transparency problems seem to be another key challenge faced by business confronted with overly burdensome licensing requirements.
Effective Strategies for Communicating Economic and Investment Climate Reforms to the MENA Region
A quarter of a century has passed since the modern economic reform movement from state to market control got underway. Since the implementation of significant economic reforms in the 1980- 1990s, particularly in Asia, Latin America Eastern Europe and the Middle East region, policy analysts and academics have been debating questions relating to the optimal design of these reforms in terms of their substance, sequencing and modalities of implementation. The proposed answers to these questions gave rise to a vast body of literature on the political economy of reform, which has rapidly expanded over the years, building on initial experience with structural economic reforms.
Tax Incentives for Investment: A Global Perspective Experiences in MENA and Non-MENA Countries
The purpose of the present paper is to analyse the effects of the use of tax incentives on foreign direct investment performance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, based on a review of international best practice and some empirical evidence. It is hoped that the discussions in Working Group 3 (Tax Policy for Investment) of the MENA-OECD Investment Programme will provide a forum for information updating and peer review on this issue. The information on the tax systems of MENA countries still needs to be confirmed by country representatives.
Regulatory Frameworks for Successful PPPs in MENA Countries
Effective regulatory frameworks for public-private partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure development have become an important comparative advantage for countries’ ability to attract international investors in infrastructure services. According to estimates MENA governments plan to spend around USD 100 billion by 2015 only in the water sector.1 Given these estimates, regulators will have to use available resources including technical and material implementation capacity and private investment prepared to engage in long term risks in the most efficient way. This provides a strong argument for the provision of a transparent and predictable regulatory environment to make PPPs work without wasting resources. Experience from OECD and non-OECD countries laid out in the 2006 OECD Policy Framework for Investment and the 2007 OECD Principles for Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure underscores the fact that private investors’ interest in PPP projects requires not only clear guidance on financial arrangements of a potential project, but also a reliable political, administrative, and regulatory framework to be in place.
Building Sound Insolvency Systems in the MENA Region
The OECD, in co-operation with the Hawkamah Institute of Corporate Governance, INSOL International and the World Bank, organized a meeting on Building Sound Insolvency Systems in the MENA Region. The meeting was co-hosted by the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones and the Egyptian Institute of Directors in Cairo (Egypt) on 21 May 2007.
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