To support MENA countries in their efforts to ramp up the competitiveness of their economies, OECD, ITCEQ (the Tunisian Institute for Competitiveness and Quantitative Economics) together with representatives of national competitiveness councils from 11 MENA countries and partnering international organisations (African Development Bank, European Investment Bank and the World Bank) jointly launched a new MENA Centre for Competitiveness on 31 March in Tunis, Tunisia.
The keynote speech was delivered by Declan Hughes, Head of the Competitiveness Division of the Irish National Competitiveness Council, who presented the Irish experience with measuring competitiveness and providing policy-makers with advice on ways to improve national competitiveness. Five MENA countries presented their national approaches to competitiveness.
The Centre’s key objectives will be to assist countries in sharing and harmonising competitiveness policies and approaches, build skills through workshops and training activities, and facilitate access to information related to competitiveness. The Centre will be governed by an Advisory Board consisting of representatives from all member countries and participating international organisations.
Its key deliverables will be a yearly MENA Report on Policies for Sustainable Competitiveness; Tanafusiya (Arabic for Competitiveness), a unified database of indicators related to competitiveness; and a programme of training sessions related to competitiveness measurement.
The MENA Report on Policies for Sustainable Competitiveness is a yearly report providing a unified framework for assessing the competitiveness of MENA countries in a harmonised format, comprising input dimensions as well as competitiveness performance measures. The focus of the report will be on providing key insights to policy-makers on relevant policy inputs and their probable impact on performance variables and ultimately on sustainable growth and welfare of the population in the long-term. It will provide a basis for comparison along these dimensions and foster the sharing of best practices and mutual help.
The Tanafusiya database will become a repository for all relevant data concerning competitiveness in the region, centralising data that is already available in various databases (such as OECD, World Bank, UN, national sources etc.) as well as primary data which is to be collected from surveys, and which will bring an additional value-added in understanding competitiveness.
The Training Programme will deal with the methodology of measurement of dimensions which are insufficiently covered and where no harmonisation exists. Experts from OECD countries will help bring cutting edge know-how in these areas and transfer their knowledge to the Centre members and trainees.
Session 1: Sustainable competitiveness – a concept to be defined?
Session 2: Measuring Competitiveness in MENA: an overview of current national approaches
Session 3: Measuring sustainable competitiveness in MENA: a proposed regional approach
Session 4: Moving ahead with the regional programme of work on competitiveness.