Paris, 28-29 October 2008
Experts from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region met in Paris on 28-29 October 2008 as part of the MENA-OECD Investment Programme’s Working Group on Investment Policy and Promotion.
In the context of the global financial crisis, MENA experts emphasised the importance of maintaining investment policy reforms that are consistent with the principles of transparency, predictability and accountability and with international investment agreements.
The MENA region has seen a substantial increase in private investment and foreign direct investment flows: FDI inflows more than quadrupled between 2003 and 2007, from USD 14.1 bn to USD 69.6 bn . In addition, intra-regional FDI increased substantially between 2002 and 2006 reaching 60 bn USD, according to some estimates.
To encourage further liberalisation and openness of the investment environment, experts supported a call at the highest level to reaffirm the principles of transparency and freedom of investment in the MENA region.
The working group also recommended that the MENA region draw on the lessons from the OECD Freedom of Investment project. Finally it was noted that three MENA countries – Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – will soon be launching Business Climate Development Strategies to ensure continued business climate improvement.
Experts discussed trends in the design of Free Economic Zones and public private partnership (PPP) projects in the MENA region and noted several emerging trends in the region, notably in the design of Free Economic Zones including an emphasis on promoting sector-specific development and greater involvement of the private sector in the management of zones. They agreed to proceed with the development of best practice guidelines on free economic zones and PPP projects in the MENA region.
This meeting served as a preparation step to the 2009 MENA-OECD Investment Programme Ministerial Conference that will be held late 2009 to review the latest recent policy reforms achievements in the region and set new targets for further action.
Session 1: Recent Developments in Investment Policy and Regulation in MENA and OECD Countries
FDI Promotion Policies in Middle East and North Africa, Dr. Alexander Böhmer, OECD Private Sector Development Division
Accord de Libre Echange entre le Maroc et les Etats-Unis d’Amérique, M. Abdou El Azizi, Ministère des Finances, Maroc
Session 2: Free Economic Zones in the MENA Region – Towards Regional Good Practice Guidelines
Free Economic Zones in the MENA Region: Update 2008, Mr. Milan Konopek, OECD Private Sector Development Division
From Free Zones to Special Economic Zones – The UAE Case Study, Dr. Nermine G. El Shimy, The Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones – ZonesCorp, U.A.E.
Where to Invest? Jordan’s Enabling Platforms , Mr. Elias Farraj, Jordanian Investment Board, Jordan
Les zones franches: Une stratégie de développement spatiale réfléchie, M. Marwane Mansouri, Direction des Investissements, Ministère de l’Industrie, Maroc
Parc d’activités économiques de Zarzis, M. Mohamed Lotfi Amor, Directeur Général Adjoint, Parc d'Activités Economiques de Zarzis, Tunisie
Session 3: Frameworks for Public Private Partnerships in the MENA region
Public Private Partnerships for Infrastructure Financing: Elements to consider , Dr. Alexander Böhmer, OECD Private Sector Development Division
Partenariat Public Privé, M. Said Tazi, Ministère des Affaires Économiques et Générales, Maroc
Réglementation des Investissements Directs Étrangers au Maroc : progrès et réformes, M. Marwane Mansouri, Direction des Investissements, Ministère de l’Industrie, Maroc
Session 4: Evaluating Investment Policy and Promotion in the MENA region
BCDS – Toolkit for Investment Policy and Investment Promotion, Mr. Milan Konopek, OECD Private Sector Development Division