Emerging New Economic Policy Makers in the Arab Mediterranean: Economic Agendas of Islamic Actors

3 July 2012 - 4 July 2012 | Conference | Palau Centelles, Barcelona

A lot has been written about the economic causes of the Arab Spring but little attention has been paid to the economic consequences of Arab uprisings and the emergence of Islamist parties.

The new governments in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco are facing the responsibility to design and implement growth-oriented economic policies. Islamist parties, now in the driving seat, will need to demonstrate that they are able to carry out more effective and transparent policies and bring more social justice and balanced growth. All are also aware that economic stagnation and lack of jobs can endanger the political process. The economic agendas of Arab transitions may become as important as the political agenda, and economic policies led by Islamist parties in government will be essential to ensure the sustainability of emerging Arab democracies.

North African economies urgently need to stabilize their macro-economic frameworks, introduce fiscal reforms, review some of their subsidies, facilitate domestic and foreign investment and, above all, promote inclusive growth.

But how will the emerging Islamist parties approach these challenges? Which are their economic priorities? Do they have a genuine policy reform agenda? Are they ready to pursue a policy of trade and investment liberalization to promote growth? Do they believe in economic integration with their Arab neighbours and with the European Union? Is Turkey the model for economic growth?

The objective of the conference is to engage economic policy makers from Islamist parties and to better understand the policy choices that they will have to confront. The conference can also constitute a useful opportunity to compare the situation in different countries and the way in which public-private dialogue is carried out as a consensus building tool to promote policy reforms.

The program addresses the main economic challenges in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. The conference also tackles two subjects with a regional dimension: the Islamic finance and its role in the Arab World, as well as economic cooperation within the Euro-Mediterranean region and between international Islamic actors.

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