Towards a New Development Agenda for the Middle East

The Economic Research Forum’s (ERF) 22nd Annual Conference will be held in Cairo, from March 19 to 21, 2016. Since 1995, ERF’s Annual Conference has proven to be the premiere regional event, where new ideas are born, where the community of researchers meets, and where excellence is celebrated.

This year’s conference will explore the development models followed by Arab countries before the uprisings and evaluate why these strategies failed to convince the majority of the populations of their effectiveness.

Looking ahead, it will seek to examine why countries in transition have thus far failed to devise new political settlements and development models years after the uprisings took place. The participants will attempt to chart a course of action for these countries that strikes a balance between immediate popular demands and long term sustainability.

Because a group of countries in the region suffers from conflicts and civil wars, a special session is devoted to a discussion of the root causes of the conflicts and post conflict resolution development agenda. This session will feature Former Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy and experts from abroad.

Around 200 renowned economists, political scientists and policymakers from the region and abroad are expected to attend the conference to address this year’s theme of ‘Towards a New Development Agenda for the Middle East.

The conference will begin with an opening session chaired by the Director General of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and Kuwait’s Former Foreign Minister Abdlatif Al-Hamad. The session will feature the World Bank’s Hafez Ghanem, the Atlantic Council’s Mohsen Khan, Oxford University’s Adeel Malik and ERF Managing Director and Former Egyptian Finance Minister Ahmed Galal as speakers. The following plenaries build on the findings in this session and feature equally renounced experts.

“This year’s conference will discuss why development strategies that preceded the Arab uprisings failed and will seek to uncover new paths”. Galal commented, adding that “the participants will also explore policies aiming at both growth with a fair distribution of national wealth, ending crony capitalism and combating corruption, while forming a strong and wide reform coalition”.

The conference will also see the presentation of over 45 research papers over six parallel sessions under the themes of Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, International Economics, Finance, Labor and Human Development, and Institutional Economics.

In addition, two special sessions will be held to showcase the work carried out by ERF over the years on the themes of ‘Labor Markets’ and ‘Natural Resources.’

As always, the closing session will be devoted to celebrating the six winners of what has become a regional mark of excellence: The Best Paper Award.

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