Organized jointly by the Economic Research Forum and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the conference “Understanding and Avoiding the Oil Curse in the Arab World” will be held in Kuwait on January 15-16, 2012 and will convene around 100 regional and international researchers.
Eleven countries of the twenty-two members of the League of the Arab States are oil exporters and they account for approximately 55 percent of global oil reserves and 29 percent of natural gas reserves. The hydrocarbon sector dominates these economies, contributing about 50 percent to GDP and 80 percent to government revenues. Neighboring countries are also impacted by oil, through its impact on labor earnings, capital mobility and trade in goods and services between oil and non-oil exporters. If the region does not harness the power of natural resources, it is likely to experience extreme volatility, post-boom growth collapses, Dutch disease, weakened institutions and rent-seeking behaviors: the so called “oil curse.” The reverse also holds.
In this context ERF has initiated a major research undertaking on “understanding and avoiding the oil curse in the Arab world,” which aims at understanding the macroeconomic challenges related to oil dependency as well as exploring options to address those challenges including fiscal, financial, monetary and exchange rate policies.
Bringing together renowned academics and policy makers, the primary objective of this conference is to initiate discussions on the macroeconomic challenges posed by oil dependency in Arab countries, and of policies for harnessing the power of natural resources. The conference was preceded by a workshop, which was held in Cairo on October 7- 8 2011 to discuss draft papers.
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