Can the East Asian experience of growth be replicated in the MENA region? - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Can the East Asian experience of growth be replicated in the MENA region?

Can the East Asian experience of growth be replicated in the MENA region?

Diaa Noureldin from the American University in Cairo participated as discussant in the first session at the ERF 24th Annual Conference. The session focused on the lessons from the Asian experience that could be useful for sustained growth in the MENA region. In his intervention, Mr Noureldin tried to answer three main questions:

  • Can the East Asia experience be replicated, in general?
  • If so, can it be done in today’s environment?
  • If so, can it be done in today’s environment?

According to Mr. Noureldin, it is very difficult to replicate the experience of East Asia, and South Korea specifically. These countries had what he calls “a good combination of good institutions and good luck.”The probability of combining these two factors again is very slim.
Further, Mr. Noureldin indicates that the current context is very different from the one that made East Asia economic growth possible. We cannot underestimate the disruptive nature of today’s technology, such as Artificial Intelligence and the many applications the blockchain technology. The nature of today’s technology means that the duration between discoveries become shorter and shorter. In this context, planning state interventions around these technologies is very difficult.
Finally, to Mr. Noureldin, what is really important for the MENA region is to focus on institutions, and “get the institutions right.” Ultimately, this means focusing on the quality of institutions – both in terms if institutions for policy making as well as ones relevant for the market.
The Economic Research Forum’s 24th Annual Conference is held in Cairo, Egypt, on 8-10 July, 2018. The main theme of the plenary sessions is “The New Normal in the Global Economy: Challenges and Prospects for MENA”. The conference aims to draw on the lessons learned from the restructuring of the economic order across the region, particularly in light of the wide-ranging consequences of the decline in oil prices. With social turbulence and conflict persist in several MENA countries, the main goal is adequately reconciling short-term social and economic concerns with long-term growth and reform efforts. Visit the conference website to find out more about the event and access papers, videos and blogs.