Scaling-up the Inclusive Growth Agenda in the Arab Region

From the remarks by Managing Director Christine Lagarde:

“As of now, I see the contours of this agenda revolving around the following three priorities.

Priority 1: How to create a vibrant private sector for higher growth and more jobs

The old model where the state is employer of first resort is no longer viable. The private sector needs to step in and step up, and in some aspects government actions can help. This means leveling the playing field for private firms by combating corruption, increasing competition, and taking advantage of global trade and new technologies.

It also means firms investing more within the region, paying their fair share of taxes, and collaborating with the public sector to improve infrastructure.

Priority 2: How to support excluded groups

Integrating youth, women, rural populations, and refugees requires targeted policies. This means preparing people for jobs in the economy – through better education and active labor market policies that help youth and women find meaningful employment.

Financial inclusion can also be an important empowering agent, especially for women. And as I have said so often, including women financially and economically is a potential global game-changer.

I look forward to my conversation after lunch with remarkable women from across the region, and to discussing practical solutions to close gender gaps.

Priority 3: How to use fiscal policy to invest in people and infrastructure

Fiscal policy can and must be redesigned to support inclusive growth in the region. Today, social spending – on social safety nets, health and education services – is less than 11 percent of GDP. This compares to 19 percent in emerging Europe. Infrastructure needs are also large in many countries.

The question is then how to increase spending on social services and infrastructure when budgets are so tight? A key priority is building broader and more equitable tax bases. All must pay their fair share, while the poor must be protected.

And if countries can make progress in moving away from the state being the employer of first resort, as mentioned above, this too can help make room for high-return social and infrastructure outlays.”

Continue reading here.

Posted by at 12:58 PM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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