The formal private sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) economies needs to play a critical role for the overall economic transformation of the region. Creating a conducive environment for private sector development depends on a sound understanding of the performance of private firms, as well as the problems they face.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank (WB), have collaborated on a joint report – What’s holding back the private sector in MENA? The report addresses four issues that are at the heart of private sector development in the MENA region: the general business environment; firm finance and financial constraints; employment in the private sector; and competitiveness, with a focus on trade, innovation and management practices. It provides an in depth analysis of these issues and discusses the policy responses that are needed. The report is based on the results of the MENA Enterprise Survey which was designed and financed jointly by the EBRD, the EIB and the WB, to gain a better understanding of factors affecting firms’ behaviour, firm dynamics and growth prospects. The survey covers over 6,000 firms in eight economies in the region and is a unique and rich source of information, now at the disposal of economists, the business community and policy makers.
This conference brought together representatives of relevant authorities and national institutions as well as from the private and financial sectors. The first part of the event included a presentation of the joint study and its conclusions. The second part focused on the report’s implications for the Arab Republic of Egypt and on future steps for the MENA region with regards to strategies and priorities for future operations, along with a discussion of the operational strategies of the three institutions involved.