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ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS

A conference or discussion involving several participants.

Cluster-based Development as an Opportunity for Job Creation and Poverty Reduction in Egypt

Speaker(s): Xiaobo Zhang, Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI; Heba Handoussa, Director of the Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID); Abla Abdellatif, ECES Executive Director

Sep 2016

The conventional thinking is to provide developing countries with what they lack, such as financial resources and sound institutions. However, it can be a daunting task to establish well-functioning financial system and institutions. A more viable approach often is to enhance existing strengths embedded in rural areas. One noted approach is the cluster-based development model. Egypt has a large number of clusters; however, unlike in many Asian and Latin American countries where cluster-based development was a driver of agricultural and rural development, most of these clusters remain small.

This roundtable was held in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) under the USAID-funded project “Evaluating Impact and Building Capacity (EIBC).  The objective of the seminar was to inform policy-making in Egypt and to refine the research agenda on cluster-based development.

 

 

 

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Building Inclusive Institutions: Lessons from South Africa

Speaker(s): Asad Alam. Country Director, Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti, the World Bank

May 2016

South Africa has achieved a lot on its path to socioeconomic transformation since the beginning of democracy in 1994. Although much is known about the motivation and nature of the policies and institutional changes that drove this transformation, little is known about how they were executed. This workshop aims to review the South African experience in institutional reforms to draw lessons about why they succeeded. The emphasis is less on what was done and more on “the how to” of reforms. In particular, insights will be provided on the trade-offs policymakers faced, and the sequencing and complementarities among the various reforms. The aim is to discuss how Egypt can benefit from the South African experience in reforming its institutions.

 

Speaker:

Asad Alam. Country Director, Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti, the World Bank

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Towards a Better Quality of Life in Rural Egypt

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

May 2016

Achieving inclusive growth and social justice will not be possible without improving the quality of life in Egyptian villages, where 64 percent of the population live. In line with ECES’s strategic direction and in cooperation with the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the Center used a survey conducted by CAPMAS in 2015 on the characteristics of rural Egypt to develop a quality of life index for the Egyptian villages. The aim is to classify villages according to priority needs and hence the required interventions. The purpose is to maximize the positive impact on Egyptian citizens and achieve social justice.

Speakers:

Hisham El-Helbawy, Advisor to the Minister of Local Development;

Reda Farahat, Qalioubeya Governor; and

Abu Bakr Al-Gendy, Head of Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statstics (CAPMAS)

 

 

 

 

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Launching the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 in Egypt

Speaker(s): Multiple speakers

Sep 2015

This roundtable discussion highlighted the most significant results of the WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 for Egypt in light of the important institutional and economic reforms undertaken in the past year. The roundtable also discussed the implications of the report for the Sustainable Development Strategy – Egypt 2030 as well as the main competitiveness pillars from the perspective of the Egyptian private sector. It also shed light on the main weaknesses that reflect negatively on Egypt’s competiveness ranking and proposed recommendations for future reform.

http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2015-2016

Speakers

Mohamed Taymour, Vice Chairman, ECES

Seif Allah Fahmy, Chairman, ENCC

Omneia Helmy, Director of Research, ECES

Nihal El-Megharbel, First Assistant to the Minister of Planning

Amina Ghanem, Executive Director, ENCC

 

 

 

 

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Promoting Services for Development in Egypt

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy, ECES, Abdul Hamid Mamdouh, WTO, Magda Shahin, AUC

Jun 2015

The rise of global supply chains and new business models has given services—such as tourism, financial intermediation, communications and transportation—even more prominence and strategic importance, with strong implications for social welfare and quality of life. The service sector has seen substantial growth in recent years, with services value-added reaching more than 70 percent of world GDP in 2014.

Egypt’s Sustainable Development Startegy announced in the March 2015 Egypt Economic Development Conference envisions to increase the contribution of services to GDP from 50 percent to the world average. This requires a paradigm shift in the role of the state from being a service provider to an efficient regulator as well as changes in a wide range of policies and regulations that affect investment, competition, consumer protection, and the enviroment.

Drawing on extensive analytical research undertaken by ECES in this respect, this roundtable addressed three main questions:


1- What are the main regulatory and institutional reforms needed for efficient services?
2- How to enhance competition in services markets through trade in services liberalization?
3- Would trade liberalization improve access to efficient and affordable services, helping achieve efficiency and social equity?

 

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Paradigm Shift in Industrial Policy Design: Implications for Egypt

Speaker(s): Professor Irmgard Nübler, Senior Economist, International Labour Organisation

Apr 2015

Industrial policy (IP) is a set of rules that aim to influence which industries expand and which contract, with a view to enhancing competitiveness and boosting economic growth. IP has become more on economic diversification and sustainable growth. This roundtable revisited the role of the state in economic activities, and discussed the importance of country-specific capabilities and capacities as key determinants of successful IP. In particular, this roundtable attempted to answer the following questions:

1.  How can Egypt optimize its specific capabilities and unleash its latent capacities?

2.  What can Egypt learn from other countries best practices for a successful IP?

3.  What does it take for industrial policy to work in Egypt going forward? 

 

 

 

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Egypt’s Civil Service Reform: A New Vision

Speaker(s): H.E. Ashraf El-Araby, Egypt’s Minister of Planning, Follow-up, and Administrative Reform

Apr 2015

The efficiency and integrity of the state’s civil service is an essential stimulant for private sector activity, and a fundamental element in reinforcing confidence between the government and citizens. In this roundtable, a new vision for Egypt’s civil service was discussed with a view to upgrading government services and the performance of civil servants. Specifically, the roundtable focused on the following:

1.    The importance of streamlining the state’s civil service;

2.    Ways of enhancing the efficiency and integrity of human resources in the government sector; and

3.    The civil service law and relevant legislations.

 

 

 

 

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Innovation in Transition

Speaker(s): Group of Speakers

Dec 2014

An Event held in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

The EBRD’s 2014 Transition Report (TR), titled “Innovation in Transition”, focuses on how individual companies across the transition region innovate. The report reveals how innovation can help increase firm productivity, boost economic growth, and re-energise transition. The report takes a broad view of innovationusing a unique enterprise survey analysing how firms innovate by introducing new products, new production processes, new ways to organize themselves, and new ways to market their products and services, and whether they do this by adopting products and technologies from advanced economies or by developing new products and processes themselves. The report also takes stock of firms’ investments in research and development and provides new insights into how managerial practices influence firm productivity.

A key theme of this report is that regardless of a country’s level of economic development and its progress along the transition path, firm managers can make decisions that have a profound influence on the efficiency and productivity of the businesses they run. Yet, which actions are most beneficial - R&D, adopting products that were developed elsewhere, or improving management practices - depends strongly on the business environment in which a firm operates. Governments can do a great deal to unleash this potential, but in order to determine the right measures for any given country they must work closely with the private sector.

The presentation also showcased the findings from a recent EBRD research paper that investigates the nature of growth undergone by Egypt in the decade preceding the Arab Spring. The paper demonstrates that during this period of high growth, Egypt did not witness a structural reallocation of labour towards modern, productive sectors in the way that was seen in emerging markets, notably in South-East Asia. It is argued that factors including limited openness to trade, a low diversification of exports and deficient access to finance explain why Egypt is currently in this “low value trap”. EBRD then presented sector-specific and cross-cutting policy proposals to overcome these barriers to structural change and boost productivity growth.

Speakers:

Sherif El Diwany, ECES Executive Director

Hildegard Gacek, EBRD Managing Director

Erik Berglof, EBRD Chief Economist

Hanan Morsy, EBRD Lead Economist

Philip ter Woort, EBRD Director for Egypt

Dr. Mona Al Garf, Head of the Egyptian Competition Authority

Dr. Ahmed Fikry Abdul Wahab, Chairman, FAW Industrial Group and a Board Member of FEI

 

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Egypt's Missing SMEs: Time to Act

Speaker(s): Group of Speakers

Dec 2014


An Event held in collaboration with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

The potential of the vast pool of small and medium businesses in Egypt to grow into lucrative, innovative and competitive firms is unrealized. Their latent capacity to generate jobs, export and create value for large business is significant but there are barriers to their growth. 

A bold and far reaching initiative to invigorate smaller businesses is needed. The time to act is now. Government is focused on the business environment for smaller firms. International financial institutions will be working with banks to expand access to capital. However, international experience has shown these interventions are not sufficient to invigorate smaller businesses and to achieve the desired economy-wide impact and scale required in Egypt for economic recovery and growth.

Large business has a critical role to play. Mentoring and engaging with smaller business on a large scale can catalyze graduation of firms to productive, profitable, and innovative businesses that can play their critical role in the economy. 

What can large Egyptian businesses do to better develop and integrate small and medium enterprises? How can smaller firms become better suppliers, distributors and exporters? What incentives and institutions would create a market that allows smaller firms to grow?

Speakers:

Shantayanan Devarajan, Chief Economist of the Middle East & North Africa Region, World Bank

Ravi Kanbur, T.H. Lee Professor of World Affairs, Professor of Economics & Management, Cornell University

Discussants:

Ahmed Fikry Abdel Wahab, General Manager and CEO, Egyptian German Automotive

Gamal Muharam, President, Egyptian Factoring Association

Neveen El Tahri, Chairperson and Managing Director, Delta Shield for Investments

 

 

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Launching the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 in Egypt

Sep 2014

H.E. Ashraf Al-Araby, Minister of Planning, Follow-up and Administrative Reform; Omneia Helmy, the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies

Competitiveness is how countries create the best economic, social and environmental conditions for economic development. The aim of this roundtable was to launch the 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) in Egypt and attempt to formulate a vision for the future of the Egyptian economy based the results of the report. The GCR is based on an index used by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to evaluate how 144 countries fare on competitiveness. Evaluation is based on their performance on 12 pillars of competitiveness: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market sophistication, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.

To calculate a country’s competitiveness index, these pillars are weighted depending on the stage of development that a country falls into based on GDP per capita and the ratio of mineral exports to total exports. Egypt’s classification as an efficiency-driven economy places the bulk of weight on efficiency enhancers.

ECES is a partner institute of WEF in the preparation of the Global Competitiveness Report.

 

 

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Egypt's Road Map to Social Justice

Speaker(s): Shantayanan Devarajan, World Bank; Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidarity; Sherif El Diwany, ECES

Mar 2014

While being a topic of considerable debate, social justice has been generally defined as the ability of citizens to realize their full potential in the society where they live in. There is a variety of approaches for a society to achieve social justice. Whether by reforming policies and institutions like education, health care, safety nets, industrial relations and public services, or by corrective or distributive policies that fight poverty, ensure fair distribution of wealth and guarantee intergenerational equity, societies have economic, social, geographic and political specificities that they need to integrate when designing their social justice policies.In Egypt there is an intense debate on how to identify and prioritize the social justice agenda going forward.

Discussion question: What does other country experience offer Egypt to inform its process of designing and implementing social justice policies?

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The Merits of a Value-Added Tax in Egypt

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy, The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies; and Mamdouh Omar, The Egyptian Tax Authority

Nov 2013

Applied in more than 150 countries around the world, the value added tax currently accounts for more than 20 percent of global tax revenues. With Egypt suffering a high budget deficit of 14 percent of GDP in 2012/2013 and significant tax arrears estimated at LE 74.5 billion at end-June 2013, introducing this tax in lieu of the sales tax could help the government raise the much-needed funds for improving infrastructure and the quality of public services. However, the success of this tax in Egypt depends on addressing several factors related to design and implementation. Most importantly, the administrative capacity of the tax authority and the private sector, the large informal sector in Egypt, tax incidence and regressivity as well as the expected inflationary impact.

Specifically, this roundtable attempted to answer the following questions:

1. Why the VAT in Egypt and how it works?

2. Who are the potential winners and losers?

3. What are the prerequisites for its efficient and equitable implementation in Egypt?

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How to Protect Decision Makers in Egypt

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy (ECES); Ahmed Darwish (Former Minister of Administrative Development); and Hany Sarey Eldin (Sarey Eldin for Legal Consultations)

Nov 2013

Egypt currently suffers from the prevalence of hesitant economic policymaking, posing a serious constraint on investment and economic growth. This roundtable discussed this phenomenon, its reasons and impact on investment and growth. It also included a review of international experience in this respect. Arabic invitation attached.

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Making the Most of Africa’s Commodities: Industrializing for Growth, Jobs and Economic Transformation

Speaker(s): Abdalla Hamdok, UN Economic Commission for Africa;H.E. Hatem Saleh, Ministery of Industry and Foreign Trade;Alaa Arafa, Arafa Holding and ECES

Jun 2013

The 2013 edition of the Economic Report on Africa suggests that Egypt together with eight other African countries have an opportunity to transform their economies through a commodity-based industrialization strategy that leverages on the continent's abundant resources, current high commodity prices and changing organization of global production process. Such a policy is necessary if the continent is to become a global economic power that can address the challenges of youth unemployment, poverty and gender disparities. Specifically, the report examines key constraints and opportunities for African countries to make the most of their commodities by adding value through linkage development.

With respect to Egypt, the report considers the textile industry of paramount importance to the economy, accounting for 5 percent of total GDP and 26.4 percent of industrial production. It employs more than half a million Egyptians and is a crucial foreign exchange earner. In spite of its superior raw materials, Egypt has been unable to exploit its advantageous position to the best of its capabilities. Egypt needs to direct more investments into weaving and dyeing of local fabrics instead of exporting the raw material, thereby limiting its comparative advantage in the textiles industry. Clearly, there is a need to create a niche market because competition with other countries such as China and Pakistan is difficult due to the huge differences in input and output costs.

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Global Monitoring Report 2013: Rural-Urban Dynamics

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy (ECES), Jos Verbeek (The World Bank), Heba Handoussa (ENID)

Apr 2013

With less than 1,000 days remaining until the end of the 2015 target date for achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this report highlights the need to accelerate efforts to improve the lives of the poor in both rural and urban areas. The theme of Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2013 is rural-urban disparities in development and ways urbanization can better help achieve the MDGs. The GMR, jointly produced by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is an annual report card on the world’s progress toward the MDGs.

Not only is the theme highly relevant for assessing progress within the current MDG framework, but it also has the potential to inform discussions about the post-2015 development framework in which urbanization will be a major factor. The report calls for complementary rural-urban development policies and actions by governments to facilitate a healthy move toward cities without short-changing rural areas. Besides introducing the key findings of the GMR 2013, this roundtable discussion touched on the central challenges facing countries in the MENA region in their progress toward achieving the MDGs. The objective is to help explore the development assistance these countries need in order to accelerate their progress toward attainment of the MDGs.

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Investment and Employment: Vision for a Better Future

Speaker(s): H.E. Osama Saleh, Minister of Investment; H.E. Hatem Saleh, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade; Dr. Alaa Arafa, ECES; Mr. Mahmoud Attalah, CI-Capital Holding; Dr. Omneia Helmy, ECES

Jan 2013

Unemployment and job creation are among the most important challenges facing policymakers in Egypt today. Official statistics indicate that youth unemployment was 24.8 percent in 2011, which is double the unemployment rate at the national level (12 percent). Specifically, this roundtable aimed to explore ways of increasing investment and job creation. The event also discussed government plans on the short, medium and long runs to increase investment and the rate of job creation. Participants in this event included a high-level group, including government officials, Shura Council members, academia, the media and civil society.

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Research and Development: Potential Driver of Egypt's Pharmaceutical Industry

Speaker(s): Iman Al Ayouty (ECES)

Sep 2012

In today’s knowledge-based economy, research and development (R&D) is key to driving output and productivity, particularly in R&D-intensive industries like pharmaceuticals. Although to date the pharmaceutical industry in Egypt has been a modest contributor to manufacturing value added (5%), exports (3%) and employment (4%), it has the potentials for further growth, especially from the knowledge perspective. International experience indicates that a 29% growth in India’s pharmaceutical firms’ R&D expenditure was associated with a 15% growth in industry sales over the period 1995-2007. Today, India is an important player in the global market for generic drugs and active ingredients.

This roundtable discussion highlighted the main findings of ECES research regarding the micro and macro factors behind modest R&D performance in Egypt’s pharmaceutical firms. At the micro level, an R&D strategy is evidently lacking, with firms leaning heavily towards development as opposed to basic or applied research. Moreover, there is virtually no collaboration either with other firms or with universities in research. At the macro level, public R&D expenditure remains meager, and the public R&D system lacks good governance. As such, the discussion aimed to draw relevant policy implications for placing Egypt on the new, long-sought growth trajectory.

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Growth, Social Justice and the Role of the Private Sector During Transition: The Case of Egypt

Speaker(s): Magda Kandil (ECES), Ibrahim Saif (CMEC), Noha El-Mikawy (Ford Foundation)

Jun 2012

Social justice requires creating jobs to maximize collective shares in the fruits of economic growth and to increase wages in line with productivity towards achieving higher standards of living for the wider majority of Egyptians. Mobilizing additional demand for labor through increasing the job content of growth, investing in education and training, and increasing efficiency to close the gap between demand and supply in the labor market are top priorities. Within the new economic and social paradigm, it is important to determine how various stakeholders can contribute to achieve the desired goals. While the role of the state as a regulator and facilitator is clear, less clear is the role of the private sector during the transitional era that Egypt is going through. The challenge is how can all parties align their efforts in the short and medium term to avoid the low growth scenario and its potential negative implications.

This roundtable focused on the inclusive growth model and explore ways to achieve social justice via broader participation in production and economic activity. Specifically, it aimed to contribute to ongoing debate about ways of increasing the job content of growth by addressing industrial policies, reforming education and ensuring broader support for SMEs to maximize the shares in growth benefits among various participants in the production process.

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Africa’s Potential As A New Pole Of Global Growth

Speaker(s): Adam Elhiraika & Nassim Oulmane (UN Economic Commission for Africa), Omneia Helmy (ECES) and Mohamed Hammam (Ministry of International Cooperation)

Jun 2012

Despite the political and social unrest that affected some countries in North Africa, growth remains strong in the rest of Africa. Out of the top-fifteen fastest growing economies in the world today, ten are African. The continent’s contribution to world GDP is projected to increase from 2.4 per cent in 2012 to 5.1 per cent in 2034. A fast growing Africa could provide a new driver for consumer demand, a large market and a new engine of global growth. To harness both the productive potential and untapped consumer demand of the continent, Africa will need to enhance productivity and competitiveness through investing in infrastructure, technology, higher education and health, broadening the range of exports and making the necessary investments in productive sectors, enhancing development financing and promoting regional integration and South-South cooperation.

This roundtable discussion introduced the key findings of the Economic Report on Africa 2012 “Unleashing Africa’s Potential as a New Pole of Global Growth”. On this occasion, the discussion focused on the central challenges African countries must address for the continent to unleash its potential as a pole of global growth. Among other key goals, Africa needs to move towards a unified framework for negotiation and cooperation with emerging as well as old partners that will help African countries maximize gains in terms of trade, FDI, technology transfer, loans and aid, especially from China, Brazil, Korea and Turkey. Addressing this challenge will broaden the scope of integration, both in trade and investments, between Egypt and neighbors in Africa.

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Structural Reforms to Enhance the Business Environment in Egypt

Speaker(s): Magda Kandil, ECES; Amina Ghanem, ENCC; Andrew Stone, WB

May 2012

Egypt’s rankings in institutional quality indices have stagnated or deteriorated over the years. Lack of progress in developing quality institutions has long hampered the economy from achieving its potential, even at times of high growth and private investments. While the focus in the near term is on stabilizing the economy, priorities of structural reforms should be aligned, in parallel, towards easing chronic bottlenecks and positioning the economy on an upward trajectory of growth and competitiveness going forward. On the structural front, it is necessary to address existing impediments towards improving governance and global competitiveness, and reducing the cost of doing business and corruption.

This roundtable discussion focuses on the impact of institutional quality on the business environment in Egypt. The aim is to highlight the impact of long-term rigidity that has long constrained the potential of the economy and the implications of recent developments post the Revolution towards prioritizing the agenda of structural and institutional reforms that would help unlock Egypt’s growth potential. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

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Priorities for Monetary Policy: The Scope for Inflation Targeting

Speaker(s): Magda Kandil (ECES), Faika El Refaie (Former Sub-Governor, Central Bank of Egypt), Mahmoud Abul-Oyoun (Central Bank of Egypt), and Rania Al-Mashat (Central Bank of Egypt)

May 2012

The continuous rise in the cost of living constitutes a serious challenge to most Egyptians, especially those who suffer from deteriorating real income and limited scope to expand opportunities in the context of a growing economy. Further, high inflation has eroded Egypt’s export competitiveness in the face of continued appreciation of the real exchange rate of the pound, despite successive waves of nominal depreciation. More recently, the conduct of monetary policy has been challenged by economic slowdown in the aftermath of the January 25 Revolution. Fiscal dominance also poses a serious challenge for the independence of the Central Bank against a backdrop of widening fiscal deficit which could potentially increase inflationary pressures and exert depreciation pressure on the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound. Moreover, excessive domestic financing of the fiscal deficit has increased the cost of borrowing and crowded out private activity. This roundtable discussion discussed the efforts undertaken by the Central Bank to adopt an inflation target regime and highlighted the challenges facing monetary policy at the current juncture.

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The Risk Sharing Banking Model: A Prospective Channel For Development in Egypt?

Speaker(s): Tarek El-Ghamrawy, ECES

May 2012

Although the Egyptian banking sector has gone through several waves of reforms in the last two decades, it has yet to play its expected role as a catalyst for economic development. This roundtable discussion explored the viability of growing interest in the risk-sharing banking model as a possible approach to strengthen the currently weak developmental role of the Egyptian banking sector. Building on research findings, the roundtable first presented a new theoretical model comparing the investment process in the risk-sharing and the conventional systems. The presentation then empirically assessed the effect of applying the Islamic system on financial intermediation in a panel of 616 banks from 19 countries over the period 1996-2010. The main theoretical and empirical research findings were discussed, shedding light on the major prospects and challenges inherent in risk-sharing banking as a model for development. Finally, policy recommendations suggested ways to address challenges and capitalize on the potential of risk-sharing banking approach in promoting investment and growth in Egypt.

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Upgrading Small and Medium Enterprises: The Case of Egypt

Speaker(s): Markus Loewe (D.I.E), LEAD, Iman Al-Ayouty (ECES), Annegret Altpeter (D.I.E), Lisa Borbein (D.I.E), Marc Chantelauze (D.I.E), Maximilian Kern (D.I.E), Elisabeth Niendorf (D.I.E), and Malak Reda (ECES)

Apr 2012

In recognition of the potential role that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) stand to play in driving Egypt’s economic growth, ECES has been conducting collaborative research with the German Development Institute) Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)( on the factors determining the upgrading of SMEs in Egypt. Like in many other developing countries, business activities in Egypt are largely dominated by both “micro to small” and “large” enterprises, thus posing the so-called “missing middle” problem.

This roundtable discussion presented the findings of the research team. The results indicated that many small enterprises find it very difficult to innovate towards growing into the segment of medium size enterprises. Nevertheless, a considerable number of companies was able to go through a process of upgrading even at times of difficulty such as the present environment. Some have even more than doubled in size (by employment criteria) within the last five years. The main factors explaining differences in growth and upgrading are: (i) education, work experience and international experience of the company owner, (ii) access to finance, (iii) investment into human resource development and market research and (iv) efficiency in the application of existing laws such as taxation and licensing.

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Towards Mobilizing Export Competitiveness: Impact of Exchange Rate Policy

Speaker(s): Magda Kandil (ECES); Omneia Helmy (ECES) and Khaled Hanafy (Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce)

Apr 2012

The roundtable discussion discussed the pros and cons of exchange rate depreciation in Egypt. It considered the import content of Egyptian exports at the aggregate level and for the manufacturing sector in particular. Using data for exports by industry and country of destination over the period 2000-2010, the analysis assessed the impact of fluctuations in the bilateral exchange rate of the Egyptian pound and the real effective exchange rate on export competitiveness in the presence of a high imported intermediate content. The results will reflect on the current debate regarding the need to let the Egyptian pound depreciate to ensure higher export competitiveness and on the downside risks of depreciation on the cost of production and higher inflation. Policy implications were assessed in light of high industrial dependency on imported inputs and the risk of depreciation on the cost of production and loss of competitiveness.

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Towards Mobilizing Additional Fiscal Revenues: Progressive or Flat Taxes?

Speaker(s): Hazem Hassan, Magda Kandil, Omneia Helmy, Ramadan Siddique and Mohamed El Bahi

Mar 2012

The roundtable discussion attempted to explore options to mobilize additional revenues to improve the state of public finances and reduce the fiscal deficit. The debate has focused recently on the scope to institute progressive taxes. Advocates cite the low income tax rate in Egypt compared to other countries, and the need to introduce higher progressive taxes to achieve social justice and make more resources available for the much-needed social and developmental spending by the government. Opponents are concerned that progressive taxes could hinder the prospect of recovery in a fragile economy, reduce investment, and result in less revenue for the government. The roundtable weighed the merits of both arguments, drawing on Egypt’s taxation track record and international experiences in this respect.

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Enabling the Poor in Egypt: Integrating the Informal Economy into Mainstream Activity

Speaker(s): Magda Kandil, Malak Reda, Soad Kamel Rizk and Ali El Faramawy

Mar 2012

Despite high economic growth in Egypt over the past ten years, a large segment of the Egyptian population still lives in poverty, estimated at 40 percent. This roundtable discussion attempts to contribute to the ongoing debate about Egypt’s economic challenges post-January 25, 2011, by exploring ways of addressing high poverty, unemployment and income distribution through integrating the informal economy into the mainstream.

The roundtable drew on previous studies conducted by ECES in this respect, which concluded that the poor in Egypt stand to benefit considerably if they opt to convert their dead capital (unregistered assets) into viable economic assets that could serve as collateral to increase their access to credit and their integration in economic activity. The presentation also highlighted the main findings of ECES research regarding informality, both businesses and real estate, the size of which is estimated at 40 percent of economic activity. The discussions also addressed the main barriers that stand in the way of formalization in Egypt as well as the legislations needed to encourage the poor to formalize and utilize their idle capital.

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Minimum Wage in Egypt: Striking a Balance Between Productivity and Social Equity

Speaker(s): Magda Kandil (ECES) and Omneia Helmy (ECES), Safwat El-Nahass (Central Agency for Organization & Administration), Patrick Belser (ILO)

Feb 2012

The issue of social justice has taken center stage post the January 25 revolution, where many have argued for the need to establish a minimum wage policy that protects real income from deterioration. Overtime, the minimum wage policy has failed to balance the objectives of employment creation and securing a dignified standard of living for many in Egypt. In the absence of such a coherent approach, increasing the minimum wage could increase unemployment and informality, and heighten inflationary pressures if sectoral and regional disparities were not taken into consideration.

This roundtable discussion analyzed aspects of disparity in wage distribution across sectors and regions, based on productivity and cost of living. Subsequently, the roundtable drew on international experience to offer suggestions that could aid the formulation of a minimum wage policy that achieves social justice, taking into account productivity, employment, industrial policy dynamics and investment across sectors and regions.

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The Repercussions of the Euro Area Debt Crisis on Neighboring Countries, Including Egypt

Speaker(s): Heliodoro Temprano Arroyo (European Commission)

Feb 2012

The European debt crisis has dominated the economic debate at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos. Many experts have expressed concerns about continued deterioration of economic conditions in Europe, against the backdrop of failure to reach a resolution to the debt crisis in Greece and lingering uncertainty about the impact of further austerity measures on the growth prospects in Europe. Trade with Europe is crucial to growth in many economies, including the US and China.

Closer to home, Europe is the number one trading partner for Egypt, accounting for approximately one third of its total exports and imports, and is deemed a major source of FDI and financial investments for the country. Hence, the prospects of slow recovery in Europe casts further shadow on the recovery of the Egyptian economy, which is already challenged by post-revolutionary political and economic instability.

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Fuel Subsidies in Egypt: A Strategy for Reform

Speaker(s): Alaa Arafa, Magda Kandil (ECES), Hany Dahy (EGPC), Tamer Abou Bakr (GENCO)

Feb 2012

Views have increasingly converged that fuel subsidies in Egypt are inefficient, inequitable and costly. Estimated at LE 95.5 billion, fuel subsidies in 2011/12 account for 71 percent of total subsidies, 19 percent of total expenditures and 6 percent of GDP. These subsidies benefit mostly energy-intensive industries as well as the richer quantiles who consume more petroleum products. With an overall fiscal deficit of 9.8 percent of GDP in 2010/11 and a projected wider deficit for 2011/12, reforming the current system of fuel subsidies could help the government create the much-needed fiscal space and provide more social support to the most vulnerable groups. Well targeted reform will discourage wasteful fuel consumption and increase Egypt’s earnings of foreign currency, capitalizing on a larger scope for oil and gas exports. More importantly, some of the budgetary savings from reducing subsidies could be redirected to programs that better help the poor, including education, healthcare services and cash transfers. Further, reducing wasteful energy consumption could also result in other positive externalities such as protecting the environment and achieving intergenerational equity in light of limited reserves of energy in Egypt.

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Promoting Growth and Employment through Development

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

Oct 2011

The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES) held a roundtable discussion within the framework of the conference on “Stimulating Growth and Investment during Transition,” organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) and the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB) in collaboration with the Ministry of International Cooperation. Building on its success in lending to SMEs in Eastern Europe, EBRD will be embarking on an ambitious lending program in Egypt, catering to the development and growth of SMEs. To that end, the EBRD seeks to define the best and most innovative way to support the development of SMEs in Egypt as main contributors to employment and growth. Despite significant shares in GDP and employment, the support to SMEs has yet to effectively realize their potential in creating and sustaining inclusive growth. Several constraints hamper SMEs operations and growth, including lack of access to financing, inability to hire formally given rigidity in the labor law, weak complementarity with large upstream and downstream enterprises, lack of institutional support and tough competition amidst monopolistic practices by large investors. These hurdles have become even more compounded post the 25th of January revolution as a result of security failure, frequent strikes and tarnished image of the private sector at large.Participants in this session attempted to address the following questions: 1. How to create a conducive macroeconomic environment for SMEs growth: investment and export strategies, inflation targeting and exchange rate management?2. Which type of industrial policy is needed to help SMEs grow: prioritizing sectors, geographic areas and women participation?3. What institutional support is required to foster the growth of SMEs: tax incentives, production subsidies and strengthened forward linkages?4. Who will extend credit to SMEs: the roles of the central bank, the government, commercial banks, the capital market and international donors?

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The State of Food Security in Egypt

Speaker(s): HE Gouda Abdel-Khaleq (Minister of Social Solidarity and Social Justice); Magda Kandil & Omneia Helmy (ECES); Ashraf Kamal Abbas (The Agricultural Research Centre); Saad Zaki Nassar (Cairo University)

Sep 2011

The agricultural sector plays an important role in Egypt’ economy, contributing about 13 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) and employing around 27 percent of the labor force. Despite this importance, the agriculture sector has not been given its due attention over the past several decades, minimizing its contribution towards the achievement of national economic objectives, mainly food security. This objective has been made all the more difficult in light of successive global and domestic developments, causing steep increases in food prices as well as intensifying uncertainty about the future.Limited natural resources such as land and water as well as lower private and public investment in agriculture are among the main challenges precluding the achievement of Egypt’s objective of food security. Crop composition is also a concern due to competition for limited resources. This roundtable discussed the state of food security in Egypt, with a view to offering some relevant proposals for agricultural policy in an attempt to contribute to the achievement of this much-sought objective.

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From Shock to Recovery: Supporting and Protecting the Poor

Speaker(s): Mutiple Speakers

Aug 2011
This roundtable discussion discussed the challenges faced by the poor post-January 25, lessons learned from international experience in the area of cash transfers as well as ways to target the poor using alternative methods. The event was organized by ECES in collaboration with IDSC, the UNDP and Cooperazione Italiana. ...
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From Shock to Recovery: Stimulating Investments and Supporting the Private Sector

Speaker(s): Mutiple Speakers

Jun 2011

This roundtable discussion was part of a series of roundtable discussions that aimed at addressing challenges faced by the Egyptian economy at the transitional phase. The event was orgainzed by ECES in collaboration with IDSC, the UNDP and Cooperazione Italiana.

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From Shock to Recovery: The Role of Fiscal Policy

Speaker(s): Mutiple Speakers

Jun 2011

This roundtable discussion aimed at addressing challenges faced by the Egyptian economy at the transitional phase. The event was orgainzed by ECES in collaboration with IDSC, the UNDP and Cooperazione Italiana.

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Towards Enhancing Egypt's Competitiveness in the Global Economy

Speaker(s): Nagwa El Shenawy (Ministry of Communications & Information Technology), Malak Reda (ECES), Adla Ragab (Ministry of Tourism)

Apr 2011

The overall performance of the Egyptian economy and its ability to mobilize investment and attract foreign direct investment are highly dependent on the country’s competitiveness. In that respect, the 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Report benchmarks Egypt to other countries in the same stage of development and other countries that are more developed, pinpointing both strengths and weaknesses of the economy. Over the last few years, Egypt’s competitiveness indicators exhibited weak signals in areas such as macroeconomic stability, education quality, efficiency of labor market and capacity for innovation. However, the Egyptian economy continues to have a clear competitive advantage in market size and infrastructure.

Specifically, this roundtable discussion attempted to: 1. assess Egypt’s progress so far and identify specific areas where the country has lagged behind relative to comparators;2. highlight the structural and policy deficiencies that have negatively impacted Egypt’s competitiveness; and 3. present specific policy recommendations addressing shortcomings and leading to greater competitiveness.

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The Egyptian Economy: Short and Medium Term Prospects

Speaker(s): H.E. Samir Radwan, Alaa Arafa and Magda Kandil

Apr 2011

No sooner had the Egyptian economy started to show signs of recovery from the economic slowdown following the recent global economic crisis than it was hit by the political and social upheaval that broke out on January 25, 2011. Mal-distribution of income, inadequate human development alongside lack of political reforms were among the key factors behind the widespread social discontent.Against this backdrop, this roundtable discussed Egypt’s economic priorities in the near and medium terms. Specifically, in the short term the economic agenda should target reforming government spending and the tax system to mobilize additional revenues for the growing social agenda. In the medium-term, the agenda should focus on creating more jobs and supporting productive activity to help vulnerable groups graduate from continued dependency on subsidies and increase income in line with productivity growth.

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Egypt- Laying the Ground for Sustained Growth

Speaker(s): Ratna Sahay (IMF) and Alan MacArthur (IMF)

Jan 2011

Egypt weathered the post-Lehman crisis better than many other countries. A strong record of reforms, lower global integration of financial markets, and countercyclical economic policies helped Egypt weather the crisis. Economic growth has resumed since the crisis and while the global outlook is positive, uncertainties are high and the Middle East countries will face stiffer competition from emerging markets in other regions in the coming years. Continuing reforms and preserving macroeconomic stability will be needed to sustain rapid growth of output and provide jobs for the rising number of unemployed youth.Ms. Ratna Sahay, Deputy Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, of the International Monetary Fund, and Mr. Alan MacArthur, IMF Mission Chief for Egypt, discussed the world and regional economic outlook and the macroeconomic and structural policies to lay the ground for rapid growth in Egypt.

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Currency Wars: Implications for Egypt

Speaker(s): Speakers: Dr. Magda Kandil (ECES), Mr. Mohamed Ozalp(Blom Bank), and Mr. Christophe Besse (EU Delegation in Egypt)

Jan 2011

Several major economies are intervening in their currency markets to enhance competitiveness, particularly on the trade side. By causing its currency to depreciate, a country would enhance demand for exports while curbing demand for imports, resulting in improved trade balance. However, if competitive depreciation is the result of persistent quantitative easing in major trading partners, emerging economies could be continuously losing grounds in trade competitiveness. Specifically, low interest rates in advanced economies could result in a surge in “hot capital inflows” to developing countries, increasing appreciation pressures.

The discussion in this roundtable addressed the implications of currency wars for the Egyptian economy, mainly a widening current account deficit and the resulting consequences of inflationary pressures, asset bubbles and high sterilization costs. Policy options to mitigate these threats, including the need to resort to protectionist trade measures and capital controls, were discussed.

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Recent Challenges to Monetary Policy: How Should the Central Bank React to Persistent Shocks

Speaker(s): Dr. Magda Kandil, the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES)

Dec 2010

The monetary policy framework has progressed since early 2004. Major changes reshaped the strategy of the monetary policy including the ultimate target, the intermediate target and the operational target. Moreover, the implementation framework and the communication strategy have been modernized. This modern framework of monetary policy is facing many challenges.The challenge of relative price shocks has increased in recent years through steep increases in commodity and vegetable prices. These increases were associated with spikes in inflation (quite higher than the implicit target) in 2008 and more recently in 2010. These shocks have not dissipated quickly. They are quite persistent, threatening to raise inflation expectations. The conduct of monetary policy has been complicated by other multiple shocks, including the slowdown in the recovery of the global economy, the volatility of capital flows and its consequences on the exchange rate, and the change in the business sentiment, among other shocks.

How should the central bank respond to the persistent and potentially long lasting relative price shock? Does such shock pose a challenge for the current monetary policy framework? How do multiple shocks complicate the conduct of monetary policy? Given the complexity of the economy, are the conventional instruments already in place enough? These are the key questions addressed by the roundtable discussion.

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Trade in Natural Resources: A Blessing or A Curse?

Speaker(s): Michele Ruta, The World Trade Organization (WTO)

Sep 2010

Natural resources, including fuels, are vital to virtually every aspect of human activity, key to countries’ comparative advantage and critical to economic growth. Natural resource exports are also important to development in Egypt and other Middle Eastern economies, accounting for some 44 and 70 percent of total exports, respectively. But these exports can also contribute to the exhaustion of resources by accelerating their depletion and may be associated with price volatility; de-industrialization and environmental externalities.

This roundtable discussion reviewed the key findings of the World Trade Report 2010 “Trade in Natural Resources”. Specifically, it discussed the appropriate mix of trade and domestic policies such as export taxes and/or quotas; import restrictions; consumption taxes and subsidies that Egypt could employ to ensure a sustainable level of resource extraction that balances the competing needs of present and future generations; hedge against large swings in resource prices; protect the environment; diversify economic activity and increase the scope of Middle East intra-regional trade in natural resources.

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Economic Prospects for the Middle East and Central Asia

Speaker(s): Saade Chami,Coordinator, the Middle East Technical Assistance Center (METAC)

Jul 2010

The economic prospects for the countries of the Middle East and Central Asia are improving along with the global recovery, albeit the latter remains fragile. Growth in the region—comprising the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) oil exporters; MENAP oil importers; and Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)—will gather momentum in 2010, but stay below pre-crisis levels. While the impact on the region of the Dubai crisis and the unfolding events in Greece has been limited so far, a re-pricing of sovereign debt cannot be ruled out, adding an element of uncertainty to the outlook. Dealing with the legacy of the global economic crisis will be the priority in 2010. In some MENAP oil exporters, bank balance-sheet strains emerged during the crisis, and country-specific solutions to address these strains will need to be found. As unemployment continues to rise in the MENAP oil importers, the need to raise growth and competitiveness will take center stage, against the backdrop of a weak pickup in external demand and tight competition from other emerging markets. Relevant coverage in the press: http://www.ahram.org.eg/218/2010/07/05/5/27959.aspx

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Improving the System of City Management

Speaker(s): Hamed Mobarek, Former UN Advisor

Mar 2010

This roundtable addressed current challenges facing Egypt, including rapidly increasing population and the resulting pressure on infrastructure such as water and sanitation, transport and traffic, as well as the environment. It also attempted to provide specific proposals to enhance the role of the private sector in facing these challenges under government regulation and supervision.

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Implications of the Global Economic Crisis for the Textiles and Ready-made Garments Sector in Egypt

Speaker(s): Amirah El-Hadad, Cairo University

Feb 2010

This roundtable discussion assessed the impact of the global economic crisis on the textiles and ready-made garments sector in Egypt; given its importance to investments, production, exports and employment. The assessment is based on two recent datasets reflecting firms' and workers' views regarding the impact of the crisis on the sector.

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Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010: Methodology and Key Results

Speaker(s): Malak Reda, Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES)

Dec 2009

This round table discussion addressed the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010. The Report contains a detailed profile for each of the 133 economies featured in the study, providing a comprehensive summary of the overall position in the rankings as well as the most prominent competitive advantages and disadvantages of each country/economy based on the analysis used in computing the rankings.

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Infrastructure and Economic Growth in Egypt

Speaker(s): Norman Loayza, the World Bank

Oct 2009

Over the past five decades, Egypt has experienced remarkable progress in the provision of infrastructure in all areas, including transportation, telecommunications, power generation, and water and sanitation. In the last fifteen years, however, a worrisome trend has emerged: infrastructure investment has suffered a substantial decline. This WB study attempts to analyze the situation, trend and effects of infrastructure in Egypt by placing the Egyptian experience in an international context. The study points out that a developing country like Egypt cannot afford a decline in infrastructure investment, especially that the country has much room to improve before attaining its goals of future economic growth. Taking into account that increasing investment is costly to the government, the report suggests rationalizing public expenditures to release resources for use in enhancing infrastructure services. It also stresses the importance of considering the experience of other countries where stronger participation of the private sector in the provision of infrastructure has led to significant productivity gains.

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Reviving the Waqf (Endowment) System in Egypt

Speaker(s): Ibrahim El-Baiyoumy Ghanim, the National Center for Social Research

Jan 2009

This roundtable discussed ways of reviving and improving the Waqf (endowment) syste in Egypt, a longtime source of sustainable development in Islamic and Arab societies and a forerunner of what are currently known as civil society organizations. Although once active in areas such as science, education, services and even entertainment, the Waqf system is no longer the way it used to be. Based on an ECES study of the Waqf system, this roundtable aimed to highlight ways of bringing the Waqf system to its past glory in an attempt to make it once again a main pillar of public interest and charity.

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Reforming the Wage System in Egypt's Government Sector

Speaker(s): Laila El Baradei, Associate Professor of Public Administration, Cairo University; Doha Abdel Hamid, International Development Evaluation Association

Jul 2008

This roundtable analyzed key features and problems of the civil service wage system; lessons learned from international experience in this regard; the current wage system from the perspective of civil servants; and strategic issues that need to be addressed to reform the system. After dissecting the structure and composition of the current pay system, reviewing other countries’ experiences with pay reform, and conducting structured interviews with a sample of government employees to solicit their views about the adequacy of pay, the authors identified a number of strategic issues and complementary strategies that are critical to resolving the problem. Foremost among the strategic issues were securing the needed extra funding for increased government employees’ pay, right-sizing the civil service, enhancing transparency, reducing wage discrepancies, reforming the minimum wage policy and establishing a better link between pay and performance.

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The World Bank’s World Trade Indicators 2008

Speaker(s): Gianni Zanini, Lead Economist and Trade Program Team Leader, World Bank Institute

Jun 2008

Trade integration plays an important role in national development and poverty reduction. This compact and easily accessible interactive database contains 126 indicators measuring at-the-border and behind-the-border trade policy performance and outcome for 210 countries and customs territories. Drawing on internationally comparable databases and including some new measures of trade policy, the database groups country performance around five main pillars: border protection, such as tariffs and non-tariff barriers on goods and services; constraints to market access in the rest of the world; the overall business and institutional environment; trade facilitation; and trade outcomes, such as trade growth, and diversification. For Egypt, the report indicated it had witnessed a large decline in import restrictions since the beginning of this decade, reducing its average MFN tariff from 47 to 17 percent. However, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa remain the developing regions with the highest average tariffs. The report also indicated that despite global reductions in tariffs and preferential trading arrangements, low income country exporters as a group still face the least favorable market access for their products, as they face average tariffs (3.7 percent) on their exports that are 32 percent higher than that faced by high income country exporters (2.8 percent).

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Price Subsidy or Building Capacities in Egypt?

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy, ECES

Jun 2008

This roundtable discussion attempted to answer the following questions:1. To what extent the current subsidy policy in Egypt achieves economic efficiency and social justice?2. What are the possible alternatives to develop the current subsidy policy?3. And what can be done to enhance the citizens' earning capacity to limit their reliance on subsidy?

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Egypt’s Nuclear Energy Potential

Speaker(s): Tarek H. Selim, American University in Cairo

May 2008

This roundtable discussion presented an economic assessment of Egypt's nuclear energy potential and the critical factors behind Egypt's choice of nuclear technology to help secure its future energy needs. Specifically, this roundtable discussed: 1. The economic feasibility of nuclear energy generation in Egypt;2. The critical factors behind the choice of appropriate nuclear technology and conditions for the efficient utilization of nuclear power; and3. General recommendations regarding nuclear plant operation including capital requirements, capacity constraints, operational conditions and performance expectations.

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Public–Private Partnership in Providing Educational Services: Lessons for Egypt in Light of International Experience

Speaker(s): Abdallah Shehata, Cairo University

Apr 2008

This roundtable discussion addressed the motives for adopting partnership in providing social services in general and educational services in particular; the caveats to be taken into account when allowing the private sector to provide educational services; and whether the partnership helps provide educational services and mitigate budget burdens.

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Industry & the Environment, the Potential Impact of Recent Industrial Policy Changes in Egypt on the Environment

Speaker(s): Abla Abdel-Latif, American University in Cairo

Mar 2008

The Roundtable discussion attempted to answer the following questions:1. Does Egypt’s industrial policy encourage enterprises to protect the environment or discourage them from damaging it? 2. Is Egypt’s industrial policy consistent with its environmental policies? 3. Do the recent policy changes improve or worsen the situation?

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Trade in Services through the Temporary Presence of Natural Persons: A Win-Win Formula for Egypt and the EU

Speaker(s): Magda Shahin, TRAC-AmCham; Akrum Bastawi, Consultant

Jan 2008

With the stall of negotiations under the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA), many countries have been pursuing bilateral and regional preferential trade arrangements in the area of trade in services. In the context of these arrangements and the Association Agreement between Egypt and the EU, this roundtable discussion explored the one specific area of trade in services of particular interest to Egypt: the liberalization of services' delivery through the temporary presence of natural persons, or what is known as ‘Mode 4’ under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

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Corporate Social Responsibility in Egypt

Speaker(s): Nihal El-Megharbel, Senior Economist, ECES

Dec 2007

This roundtable discussion aimed to identify what is meant by corporate social responsibility; factors that encourage local firms to design and implement social responsibility programs; the impact of corporate social responsibility programs on SMEs; and key local and international experiences in this regard.

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Reflections on Some Recent Changes in Egyptian Monetary Policy

Speaker(s): Tarek Moursi, Cairo University and IDSC

Jul 2007

The roundtable discussion addressed the following issues:1. The role of interest rate and bank reserves in monetary policy. 2. The effect of monetary policy shocks on real output. 3. Measuring the monetary policy stance.4. The effect of alternative monetary policy rules on output, inflation and interest rate variability.

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The Economic Reform Experience of Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union

Speaker(s): Marek Dabrowski, Professor of Economics, and Chairman of the Council of the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE) in Warsaw

Mar 2007

The speaker discussed the economic reform experience of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (EE/FSU) and its relevance to the Arab countries. Following a discussion of the similarities and differences between Arab and Soviet type socialism, the speaker highlighted the various aspects of transition in EE/FSU in order to draw relevant lessons for Egypt and other countries in transition.

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Real Estate Draft Law

Speaker(s): Nihal El-Megharbel, Senior Economist, ECES; Ismail Abdel Rassoul, Head of Real Estate Authority; Samir Allam, Hassan Allam Sons Co.; Hisham Talaat Mostafa, Shura Council

Feb 2007

This roundtable discussion analyzed the real estate draft law and basic features of the current law in order to offer proposals in light of the current situation in the real-estate market in Egypt.

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An East Asian Renaissance: Ideas for Growth

Speaker(s): Homi Kharas, the World Bank

Feb 2007

East Asia is a region that has transformed itself since the financial crisis of the 1990s by creating more competitive and innovative economies. But according to a World Bank report entitled "An East Asian Renaissance: Ideas for Growth," Asia needs now to turn to the urgent domestic challenges of inequality, social cohesion, corruption and environmental degradation that have accompanied its success. This roundtable discussed the results of this report in order to highlight ideas that could be useful in the Egyptian context.

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World Trade and its Implications for Human Development and Poverty Reduction

Speaker(s): Kamal Malhautra, UNDP; Samiha Fawzi, First Assistant to the Minister, Ministry of Trade & Industry; Hesham Ragab, Ministry of Trade & Industry; Tarek El-Baz, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Trade & Industry

Jul 2006

This roundtable discussion aimed to identify how the world trade system affects poverty stances and human resources development in the WTO member countries, particularly the developing countries; and features of a domestic trade system consistent with the world trade system, and its impact on the stances of poverty and human developments.

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Towards Developing the State’s Administrative Authority

Speaker(s): Laila El-Baradei, Cairo University; Ahmed Darwish, Minister of State for Administrative Development; Hatem El-Karnashawy, the American University in Cairo

Jun 2006

This roundtable discussed the various aspects of parallel administrative structures and their effectiveness in developing the state’s administrative authority. It particularly attempted to identify the causes of expansion of parallel structures; how effective, efficient and sustainable these structures are; and alternatives for developing the administrative authority.

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Private Sector's Access to Credit in Egypt: An Assessment Based on Survey Data

Speaker(s): Khaled Abdel-Kader, Senior Economist, ECES; Omar Mohanna, ECES Treasurer; Salwa Al-Antari, the National Bank of Egypt

May 2006

This roundtable discussion presented the results of a survey conducted by ECES of banks and firms regarding the credit market in Egypt. Specifically, it attempted to answer the following questions: 1. What is the extent of the slowdown of credit to the private sector?2. Why have banks been reluctant to provide finance?3. What can be done to improve private sector’s access to credit?

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What is after Liberalizing Trade in Textiles & Ready-made Apparels? Challenges and Potentials for Egypt and Some MENA Countries

Speaker(s): Miria Bigato, the World Bank; Ahmed Ghoneim, Professor of Economics, Cairo University

Apr 2006

This roundtable discussion examined the effects, challenges and potentials facing MENA countries, with a focus on Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco. It addressed the impact of eliminating the quota system on the share of these countries in world exports; whether Egypt and countries in the region are capable of competing after removal of the quota system; and short-term procedures that could enhance international exchange benefitting from this elimination.

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Developing the Minimum Wage Policy in Egypt

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy, ECES

Apr 2006

This roundtable discussed issues that need to be taken into account in setting a minimum wage policy as well as available alternatives in light of international experience to design and apply effective minimum wage policy.

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Liberalization of Air Transport Sector and the Future of Tourism in Egypt

Speaker(s): Adela Rajab, Cairo University

Dec 2005

This roundtable discussed the latest trends worldwide with respect to air transport; the impact of liberalizing this sector on tourism; and proposed alternatives to improve the sector in Egypt.

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The Efficiency and Equity of the Subsidy Policy in Egypt

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy, ECES; Othman M. Othman, Minister of Planning; Mohamed Taymour, ECES Vice Chairman

Jun 2005

This roundtable discussion attempted to answer the following questions: 1- To what extent does the current subsidy policy achieve the two objectives of efficiency and equity? 2- What are the possible alternatives to achieve these objectives more effectively in light of international experience?3- And what are the alternatives most appropriate for Egypt?

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The New EU Neighborhood Policy and its Implications for Egypt

Speaker(s): Bernard Hoekman, CEPR, and the World Bank; Nehad Abdel Latif, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt; Klaus Ebermann, EU Delegation, Cairo

May 2005

The roundtable discussion addressed the following questions: 1. What is the EU neighborhood policy all about?2. What is the rationale behind the shift to this new policy? 3. And what are the implications for Egypt?

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Institutional Alternatives for Removing Constraints to Economic Activity in Egypt

Speaker(s): Mona Al-Garf, ECES; Mahmoud Mohieldin, Minister of Investment; Mounir Abdel Nour, Member of Parliament

Jan 2005

This roundtable discussion addressed various institutional alternatives for reformulating the role of the state in the economy in a way that is consistent with the philosophy of free market, taking the social considerations into account. Specifically, this seminar addressed the motivations for revisiting the role of the state in economic activity under a free market; country experiences in formulating a new role appropriate for market mechanisms; and features of the proposed institutional framework for Egypt.

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Efficiency of the Bankruptcy System in Egypt

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy, ECES; Ziyad Bahaa El-Din, General Investment and Free Zones Authority

Dec 2004

This roundtable discussed the need for improving the bankruptcy system in Egypt; other country experiences in this respect; and proposals for improving the system in Egypt.

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Impact of Trade Liberalization on Government Revenues in Egypt

Speaker(s): Youssef Ghali, Minister of Finance; Omneia Helmy, ECES; Galal El-Zorba, ECES Vice Chairman

Sep 2004

The roundtable discussion aimed to identify whether there is a contradiction between trade liberalization and maintaining government revenues; the potential impact of applying different trade liberalization methods on government revenues; and the optimal method to reconcile the objectives of trade liberalization and maintaining revenues.

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The Economic Implications of EU Enlargement for Egypt

Speaker(s): Gamal El-Din Bayoumi, Federation of Arab Investors; Abeer Al-Shenawi, ECES; Galal El-Zorba, ECES Vice Chairman

May 2004

This roundtable discussion attempted to identify the potential impact of EU enlargement on Egyptian exports and Egyptian labor immigration to the EU and whether the accession of Eastern European countries to the EU would lead to a reduction in FDI flows to Egypt.

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Draft Competition Law

Speaker(s): Galal El Zorba, ECES Vice Chairman; Mahmoud Mohieldin, Chairman of the Economic Committee, National Democratic Party; Selim El Teletly, Executive Director, Industrial Modernization Center

May 2004

This roundtable discussion addressed the following questions: 1. Is it time for Egypt to have a competition policy law? 2. Does the draft law balance the interests of both consumers and producers? 3. What can be done to maximize the benefits from the draft law?

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Draft Amendments to Investment Guarantees and Incentives Law No. 8/1997

Speaker(s): Mohamed Al-Ghamrawi, Head of the General Authority for Free Zones and Investment; Saeed Al-Alfy, People's Assembly; Samiha Fawzy, ECES Deputy Director; Mounir Abdel Nour, Al-Wafd Party

Mar 2004

The roundtable discussion addressed the motivation for amending the Investment Guarantees and Incentives Law; the extent to which the draft amendments achieve their objectives; and key proposals to maximize the benefit from the draft amendments.

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Improving the Pension System in Egypt

Speaker(s): Othman M. Othman, Minister of Planning; Sultan Abu Ali, Former Minister of Economy; Omneia Helmy, ECES; Ahmed El Bora'y, Cairo University

Dec 2003

This seminar addressed the current pension system in Egypt; reasons for its current performance; and proposals for improving the system in Egypt.

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The Future of Egypt's Textile and Clothing Exports in Light of New Trade Rules

Speaker(s): Youssef Ghali, Minister of Foreign Trade; Samiha Fawzy, ECES; Mohamed Kassem, World Trading Co.; Mohsen El Gillany, Holding Co. for Spinning and Weaving and Readymade Garments

May 2003

This roundtable discussion addressed the new rules reshaping the future of world trade in textile and clothing; the expected impact of these rules on Egypt's textile and clothing exports; and the required reforms to maximize the benefits from these rules.

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Exchange Rate Liberalization in Egypt and Pakistan

Speaker(s): Mahmoud Abul Eyoun, CBE; Ahmed Galal, ECES; Mohamed Hanif Akhai, Habib Bank Limited

Apr 2003

This roundtable discussion addressed management of exchange rate liberalization in Pakistan; the contrast between the experiences of Pakistan and Egypt; and the recommended course of action for Egypt.

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Tourism Sector Fluctuations and How to Face Them

Speaker(s): Fathy Sakr, Cairo University; Ahmed El Maghrabi, ECES Member; Elhamy Al-Zayat, Amco Travel; Fouad Sultan, Al- Ahli for Development and Investment

Mar 2003

This seminar discussed the tourism sector fluctuations and their causes aiming to provide a set of proposals to limit the impact of these fluctuations on the Egyptian economy.

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Making Services Work for Poor People

Speaker(s): Shantayanan Devarajan, the World Bank; Mona El-Baradie, Cairo University; Ahmed Galal, ECES

Jan 2003

This roundtable discussion focused on the draft World Development Report for 2004, which aimed to make services accessible for the poor. Topics addressed are: 1- Why high growth and public expenditures are insufficient to make services reach the poor; 2- some innovative approaches to address this problem; and 3- the report’s implications for Egypt.

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Reforming Customs Administration in Egypt

Speaker(s): Omneia Helmy, ECES; Khaled Abu Ismail, General Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce; Adel Radwan, Ministry of Finance

Dec 2002

This roundtable discussion attempted to identify key problems in dealing with the customs administration in Egypt, and how to render customs administration more efficient and effective.

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New Approach in Egypt's Monetary Policy

Speaker(s): Mahmoud Abul Eyoun, CBE; Fouad Sultan, Al-Ahli for Development and Investment Co.; Ahmed Galal, ECES

Dec 2002

This roundtable discussion aimed to identify the nature of the new monetary policy approach in Egypt; the availability of monetary policy tools; the institutional framework required to achieve this approach; and how to coordinate between the monetary and fiscal policies in the framework of macroeconomic management.

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The Importance of Securitization for the Egyptian Economy

Speaker(s): Mahmoud Moheildin, National Democratic Party; Ziyad Bahaa El Din, Ziyad Bahaa El Din Law Office

Jul 2002

This roundtable discussion addressed the importance of securitization for the Egyptian economy; availability of requirements for applying this mechanism in Egypt; and proposals to ensure an efficient securitization system.

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Draft Law on Promoting Exports

Speaker(s): Youssef Ghali, Minister of Foreign Trade; Galal El Zorba, Nile Holding Co.; Sultan Abu Ali, Zaqazeek University; Mounir Abdel Nour, Vitrac

Jun 2002

This roundtable discussion addressed the draft export law, how to ensure efficient enforcement of the law, and proposals to promote exports.

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Informing the Doha Process: New Trade Research for Developing Countries

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

May 2002

This roundtable discussion aimed to identify ways that WTO rules could better reflect development priorities, and identify needed research in policy areas of relevance to the 2003 Ministerial. The roundtable set the stage for subsequently organizing a targeted program of research that would provide developing countries with timely information upon which they can formulate a more effective negotiating position.

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Merger and Acquisition of Banks in Egypt: Opportunities and Caveats

Speaker(s): Mahmoud Abul Eyoun, CBE; Nabil Hashad, Arab Center for Banking Studies; Yasser Al-Malawani, International Commercial Co. for Investment

May 2002

This roundtable discussion aimed to identify the benefits of banks merger and acquisition; necessary requirements for implementation in Egypt; and appropriate proposals for banks position in Egypt.

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Draft Unified Labor Law: Advantages and Weaknesses

Speaker(s): Ahmed Al-Amawi, Minister of Manpower and Immigration; Ahmed Ezz, Ezz Group; Ahmed El-Bora'y, Faculty of Law, Cairo University; Mahmoud Mohieldin, National Democratic Party

Apr 2002

This seminar attempted to identify the extent to which the draft law helps improve labor market efficiency; whether the new law meets the interests of different parties; and recommendations to improve the draft law.

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Postal Services in Egypt and the Communications Revolution

Speaker(s): Sahar Tohamy, ECES; Ahmed Al-Soly, National Postal Authority; Ayman Laz, Aska Financial Consultancy

Apr 2002

This seminar focused on the postal services sector, aiming to improve the National Postal Authority's performance efficiency. It particularly addressed evaluation of the postal sector in Egypt in light of international performance indicators; basic features of other country experiences in improving the efficiency of this sector; and providing a set of recommendations and proposals for decision makers.

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The Role of the World Bank in Supporting Economic Development

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

Jan 2002

This roundtable discussion provided a unique opportunity to exchange views with key members of the World Bank's Board of Directors on how Bank lending and expertise can be most beneficial to developing countries, including Egypt.

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The Proposed Income Tax Law

Speaker(s): Medhat Hassanein, Minister of Finance; Hazem Hassan, KPMG; Sayed Abdel Moula, Faculty of Law, Cairo University

Nov 2001

This seminar attempted to identify whether the proposed tax law addresses key issues in tax reform; the potential impact of the law on the budget, income and investment; and how the draft law can be improvedزز

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How Public Opinion in Egypt Views Economic Reform Policy

Speaker(s): Ismail Othman, Arab Contractors Co.; Gamal Abdel Gawad, Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies; Mustafa Kamel El-Sayed, Cairo University

Oct 2001

This roundtable reported the results of an extensive survey of public opinion in Egypt on that issue. It also offered interpretation of what the results mean for further reform.

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Private Sector Participation in Airports in Egypt

Speaker(s): Sahar Tohamy, ECES

Sep 2001

This roundtable discussion attempted to identify whether private investments in airports sector in Egypt are up to those in other countries; factors constraining effective private sector participation for the benefit of development in Egypt; and proposals to increase private investment participation in this critical activity.

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Macroeconomic Policies in Egypt

Speaker(s): Ugo Panizza, the American University in Beirut

Sep 2001

The presentation focused on what caused the economic slowdown in recent years; whether the monetary and fiscal policies are appropriate to activate the economy; and the best mix of policies to achieve future stability and economic growth.

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Finance for Growth: Policy Choices in a Volatile World

Speaker(s): Patrick Honohan, the World Bank

Jun 2001

The discussion focused on how financial systems can contribute to economic growth, poverty reduction and stability. More specifically, it addressed the following questions: 1- How can we prevent and minimize crises in the financial systems?2- What is the appropriate role of government, specifically with respect to ownership and regulation?3- What have we learned from the experience with capital account liberalization and foreign participation in banks?

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Competition Policy: the Road Ahead for Egypt

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

May 2001

This seminar assessed the draft competition law from the perspective of consumer and producer interests. It attempted to answer the following questions: 1- Is it the right time for Egypt to adopt a new law?2- What lessons can we learn from other countries?3- What are the next steps for Egypt?

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Corporate Restructuring in Korea and its Relevance for Egypt

Speaker(s): Ira Lieberman, the World Bank

May 2001

The presentation focused on how the Korean firms adjusted to the recent crisis; the role of government and banks in the process; and the implications for Egypt.

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Securing the Egyptian Economy against Cotton World Price Fluctuations

Speaker(s): Saad Nassar, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation; Adel Beshay, AUC; Amin Abaza, Arab Company for Cotton Ginning

Apr 2001

This roundtable discussion addressed cotton price fluctuations worldwide; policies applied in Egypt to face these fluctuations; and alternatives applied elsewhere.

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Draft Real Estate Finance Law: Strengths and Weaknesses

Speaker(s): Youssef Ghali, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade; Alaa Osseya, Egyptian-Arab Real Estate Bank; Ismail Othman, Arab Contractors Co.

Mar 2001

This roundtable discussion addressed the justification for a real-estate finance law; whether the draft law covers the various dimensions of real estate; and the potentials for implementation success.

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World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty

Speaker(s): John Page, the World Bank

Feb 2001

At the start of a new century, poverty remains a global problem of huge proportions. World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty argued that major reductions in all dimensions of poverty are possible and that the interaction of markets, state institutions, and civil societies can harness the forces of economic integration and technological change to serve the interests of poor people and increase their share of society's prosperity.

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Effective Tax Rate and Investment Decisions in Egypt

Speaker(s): Medhat Hassanein, Minister of Finance; Hazem Hassan, KPMG; Samiha Fawzi, ECES

Oct 2000

This roundtable discussion explained why the nominal tax rate does not reflect the real tax burden on capital in Egypt; whether the effective tax rate promotes investment in Egypt as compared to some other countries; and the impact of the tax system on the various investment decisions.

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The Road Ahead for an Egypt-US Free Trade Agreement

Speaker(s): Daniel Kurtzer, Ambassador of the USA to Egypt; Youssef Ghali, Egyptian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade

Jul 2000

This seminar discussed the motives for signing an FTA with the US; requirements for further progress; and previous US experience with other countries in this regard.

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Telecom Act

Speaker(s): Medhat Ghazala, International Expert in Telecom Sector; Samir Hamza, Baker and Mckenzie Law Firm; Tarek Kamel, Advisor to the Minister of Communications

Jul 2000

This seminar addressed the Telecom Act and its capability of improving the telecommunications sector; and institutional requirements to enforce the law, comparing the law to similar laws in other countries.

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The Issue of Liquidity in Egypt: Causes and Proposed Solutions

Speaker(s): Mohamed Taymour, Hermes Holding; Mahmoud Mohieldin, Advisor to the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade

May 2000

The shortage of liquidity and its negative implications for economic activities in Egypt have been a topic of concern for some time. This roundtable highlighted the nature of the crisis, the reasons behind it, the measures announced by the government to face it, and additional steps that need to be taken.

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International Trade System: Post-Seattle

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

Feb 2000

This roundtable discussion addressed the Egyptian role in Seattle negotiations; how to solve international commercial disputes; the social and political dimensions of Seattle negotiation; trade in services and investment; Egypt-EU partnership; and the future of textiles industry after Seattle.

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The Importance of Tourism for the Egyptian Economy

Speaker(s): Sahar Tohamy, ECES; Adrian Swinscoe, ECES

Jun 1999

The presentation attempted to answer the following questions: 1. How much does foreign tourism contribute to Egypt’s national income? 2. What is the role of tourism in employment and income generation? 3. What is the outlook for world tourism and its implications for the Egyptian economy?

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Japan’s Role in Promoting Asian Exports

Speaker(s): Noboru Hatakeyama, JETRO

Apr 1999

This presentation discussed whether the Japanese formula can work for Egypt; the export policies that governments should adopt; and whether Egypt should protect its industry.

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Effects of Market Turbulence and New Forecasts for the Global Economy

Speaker(s): Graham Hacche, IMF; Youssef Boutros Ghali, Egyptian Minister of Economy

Oct 1998

This roundtable discussed the likelihood of a global recession, how to avoid the contagion effect; and whether Egypt would be affected.

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Regulation of Utilities

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

Sep 1998

The purpose of this presentation was to discuss such questions as: 1- Why is regulation important? 2- Which countries succeeded in regulating utilities and how? 3- Should regulation precede or follow privatization? 4- Are there any lessons for Egypt?

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Telecom Egypt: The Road Ahead

Speaker(s): Ahmed Galal, ECES

Feb 1998

This roundtable discussed how much Telecom Egypt improved; whether it can do better; and how.

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The Accuracy of the CPI in Egypt

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

Dec 1997

Due to the importance of the consumer price index for policymakers, producers, consumers and economists, ECES coducted a study on the method of building and estimating the CPI in Egypt. This roundtable discussed the research findings.

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Two Perspectives on Telecom Reform in Developing Countries

Speaker(s): James G. Cantwell, Salomon Brothers International Limited, London; Bjorn Wellenius, the World Bank

Nov 1997

The speakers addressed issues of competition, regulations and private sector participation in telecom.

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Gas Pricing in Egypt

Speaker(s): Robert Mabro, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Oct 1997

This roundtable discussed gas pricing in Egypt, reform options and the implications for different users and producers.

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Dead Capital and the Poor in Egypt

Speaker(s): Hernando de Soto, ILD, Peru

Sep 1997

This presentation addressed what is missing in macroeconomic reforms to benefit the poor; how to help the poor by converting their dead capital into exchangeable assets through formalization; and how the formalization process benefits politicians and society at large.

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Integration into the World Economy: The Challenge for Egypt and Arab Countries

Speaker(s): Mohamed El-Erian, IMF

Jun 1997

This seminar was held in celebration of inaugurating the Cairo Center for Economic Information. It was chaired by Dr. Atef Ebeid, Minister of the Public Enterprise Sector and Minister of State for Environmental Affairs and Administrative Development.

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Two Perspectives on Recent Economic Reform in Egypt

Speaker(s): Gouda Abdel-Khalek, Cairo University; Arvind Subramanian, IMF

Jun 1997

This roundtable was based on two papers on economic reform in Egypt prepared by the speakers.

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Anti-Trust Law

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

Jun 1997

This roundtable discussed the competition and anti-trust draft law. It was based on a study prepared by ECES for that purpose.

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Stabilization and Egypt – IMF Relations

Speaker(s): Stanley Fischer, IMF

Nov 1996

This roundtable addressed the following key questions: What is the Egypt–IMF reform program all about? What are the likely consequences of the program in light of experiences elsewhere?

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The Impact of TRIPs on the Pharmaceuticals Industry in Egypt

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

Sep 1996

This roundtable discussed the impact of the Egypt-EU Partnership Agreement on the Egyptian economy.

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Impact of Egypt-EU Partnership Agreement on Spinning & Weaving and Readymade Garments Industries

Speaker(s): Multiple Speakers

Aug 1996

This roundtable discussed the impact of the Egypt-EU Partnership Agreement on the textile industry.

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Corporate Taxation in Egypt: Issues for the Future

Speaker(s): Gannat Al-Samalouty, Cairo University

Aug 1996

This roundtable discussed a draft report entitled "An Overview of Corporate Taxation in Egypt and an Agenda for Reform," prepared by Barents KPMG.

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Privatization of Telecom

Speaker(s): Goldman Sachs

May 1996

This roundtable discussed international experience with respect to the benefits of privatizing telecom as well as the regulatory environment, the alternative sale processes, and issues of security and labor redundancy.

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Competitiveness and Competition Policy

Speaker(s): R. Shyam Khemani, the World Bank

Mar 1996

This roundtable discussed competitiveness and competition policy. It was organized by ECES in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics and Political Science.

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