The MENA-OECD Competitiveness Programme was launched in 2016 at the request of MENA governments. It covers the following jurisdictions: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The programme’s objective is to mobilise investment, private-sector development and entrepreneurship in order to support economic growth and employment in the Middle East-North Africa region. To achieve this objective, the programme adopts a horizontal approach of policy dialogue and consensus building through the exchange of experiences and good practices, as well as capacity building, to identify, implement and monitor business climate reforms. It provides a platform for OECD and MENA economies to discuss strategic responses to common challenges in the region, to explore ways to boost inclusive growth and employment, and to foster regional and international integration.

The MENA-OECD Competitiveness Programme builds on work conducted under the 2005 MENA-OECD Investment Programme, and includes activities by the MENA-OECD Working Group on Corporate Governance. The Working Group supports the development of sound corporate governance frameworks and policies, which are essential building blocks for boosting competitiveness, promoting private-sector development and attracting capital. The Working Group supports reform efforts in MENA, using the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance and OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises as a benchmark to enhance implementation of the region’s policy priorities. The work on corporate governance feeds into and draws on other work streams under the Competitiveness Programme.

Through the MENA-OECD Competitiveness Programme, the OECD provides policy advice underpinned by comparative analytical work with a view to support policy formation and implementation at the national and regional levels in MENA economies. Building on a decade of experience, this approach promotes co-operation and mutual learning among relevant players, including regional and international public institutions and the private sector.

This publication, Corporate Governance in MENA: Building a Framework for Competitiveness and Growth, is the fruit of a partnership among MENA policy makers and the OECD. It aims to identify the main policy options for improving corporate governance in the MENA region in four thematic areas: access to capital; transparency and disclosure; gender balance in corporate leadership; and the governance of state-owned enterprises.

A draft of each of this report’s four main chapters was discussed at a meeting of the Working Group on Corporate Governance held in Rabat in December 2017. Building on this discussion, thematic focus groups with representatives from MENA economies were established to develop the chapters. Revised versions with policy recommendations were discussed at a meeting of the Working Group held in Lisbon in July 2018. Each chapter has since been revised based on feedback from regional experts.

The objective of this report is to share the rich reform experience emerging from the MENA region and to serve as a useful tool for policy makers as well as other stakeholders in search of good practice and effective policy instruments for implementing their own national corporate governance reform efforts.

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