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Towards New Arrangements for State Ownership in the Middle East and North Africa

image of Towards New Arrangements for State Ownership in the Middle East and North Africa

The role of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the Middle East and North African economies  (MENA) has historically been and remains significant in terms of their contribution to the economic value added, employment and the provision of vital services. State-owned enterprises operate across a wide range of sectors in the region - hydrocarbons, banking, construction – but also in network industries. Despite the privatisations carried out during the 1980-1990s, the role of the state in Arab economies has not declined and in many ways have indeed increased, reflecting the growth of oil and gas SOEs, sovereign wealth funds and infrastructure development projects, often carried out with the involvement of the state. This publication seeks to provide insight into the varied and rich experience in SOE reform in the region over the past decade, highlighting reform initiatives undertaken at national and country specific levels. It is unique in highlighting the challenges faced by policymakers in reforming the governance of regional SOEs

English Arabic

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The Arab Spring emphasises better corporate governance of state-owned enterprises

This chapter situates advances in and obstacles to better governance of state-owned enterprises in the Middle East and North Africa in the context of the overall public sector governance. The main message is that better corporate governance of SOEs diminishes or eliminates corruption, lowers the risk of state capture, improves SOE efficiency and supports the development of the private sector. There is also a "signalling" effect from improved SOE governance, whereby the state demonstrates to citizens and the private sector that it is committed to the values of corporate governance. The chapter provides recommendations, based on the work of the Hawkamah Institute in the region, on further measures to increase the transparency and accountability of SOEs and governments as their ultimate owners, as well as to ensure that SOE governance arrangements approach those of private sector enterprises, with which they compete in some sectors.

English

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