RWI Participates in IMF Natural Resources Training for Arab League Government Officials

Natural resources have long played a dominant role in the economic life of many countries in the Middle East and North Africa. This resource wealth offers economic opportunity but also carries many risks, namely slower-than expected-growth, limited public accountability of state institutions and corruption—all challenges facing many resource-dependent nations around the world.

To avoid such risks, good governance of the region's oil, gas and minerals is critical. The combination of the region's resource wealth, demographic trends and dynamic political environment has only increased this significance. Building the capacity of government is particularly important—officials need to be equipped with the proper tools to respond to the region's economic and governance challenges.

That is why, in addition to our other activities in the Middle East and North Africa, RWI was pleased to accept an invitation to participate in an International Monetary Fund (IMF) training for Arab League government officials entitled "Macroeconomic Management and Natural Resource Management."

The two-week course, which ran from January 7 to 17, was held at the IMF- Middle East Center for Economics and Finance  in Kuwait, a relatively new center which opened in May 2011 and has quickly become one of the leading providers of capacity building in the region. The training brought together mid- to senior-level government officials from more than 10 Arab countries including Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. The participants, who came from central banks, finance ministries and other government bodies took part in trainings and workshops led by IMF and external experts.

As RWI's Legal Analyst, I provided presentations on fiscal regimes in resource-rich countries as well as on the importance of transparency in different aspects of the natural resource value chain. Participants were particularly interested in learning more about the mix of fiscal tools (royalties, profit taxes, windfall profit taxes, etc.) that would allow their countries to continue to get good deals as circumstances change over time. They also stressed the need for greater information on the sector since the lack of transparency can be an issue not only with the public but even within the government. There was also great interest in other countries' experiences with international transparency initiatives like Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and tools such as the RWI Index, that evaluates a country's transparency policies in the natural resources sector.

Learn more about the training here.

Amir Shafaie is RWI Legal Analyst.

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