Ideas, Networks and Jobs: Rebasing Growth In The Middle East And North Africa - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Ideas, Networks and Jobs: Rebasing Growth In The Middle East And North Africa

Paul Collier

August, 2019


9 pages

Economic Research Forum

O2. Development Planning and Policy
O5. Economywide Country Studies

Oil rents are set to wane. In the MENA Region, the legacy of four decades of dependence on oil is an economy that is not generating enough opportunities for productive employment. This paper set out a policy agenda for gradual change that is cumulatively transformative. Directly, productivity can be increased by encouraging clusters of firms capable of innovation, linked to vocational training that equips a workforce with the skills that firms need. But the socio-political transformation from a rent-seeking economy to a skill-based economy is more complex, requiring both cultural and institutional change. This cannot be planned in detail: a transformation is a unique event subject to radical uncertainty. It calls for a process of rapid social learning based on experimentation. As the society adapts, new opportunities open, and the next steps clarify. I give examples of how an adaptable framework has been built elsewhere.


Paul Collier

Professor of Economics and Public Policy Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford



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