Adam Hedengren
Last updated: 5 June, 2013

5 views on the creation of a development bank for the Arab World

Should leaders from Amman to Marrakech finally make a move and set up a (much-debated) regional development bank?

“Something like that might be useful in this region as a catalyst and facilitator for investments that would address longstanding problems.”

Joseph Stiglitz, Economics professor at Columbia University

”Cooperation in the creation of an Arab Development Bank could help shift the basis on which world powers seek to find common ground on ways to halt the bloodshed in countries like Syria and Yemen and respond to the likely eruption of violence elsewhere in the region as the popular revolts spread.”

James M. Dorsey, professor and founding blogger of The Turbulent World of Mideast Soccer

“In order for this initiative to succeed and to distinguish it from existing bodies, it should be modelled after three institutions: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). All three have aspects relevant to the Arab world’s situation today.

The EBRD is widely seen as a key ingredient in the economic turn-around of Europe’s eastern and central reaches

“Countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya are undergoing significant transitions themselves. The Arab Development Bank would take steps to support their economic growth amid the inevitable growing pains of political transition. As a transition bank, the EBRD was nimble and responsive to the needs on the ground. It employed a mix of private sector support and structural reform. Today, 20 years after its founding, the EBRD is widely seen as a key ingredient in the economic turn-around of Europe’s eastern and central reaches.”

Afshin Molavi, Senior Advisor, Oxford Analytica

“The answer to the region’s ‘development’ problems is not to create another bureaucracy that conflicts with a myriad of other, already existing development banks.

“What about – as one possible alternative – the establishment of a pan-Arab think tank to study and assist with the acquisition of global
knowledge capacities, entrepreneurial technical assistance, and venture financing?”

– Michael W. Massey, The University of Georgia

”This is the historic time to set-up a MENA Reconstruction & Development Bank (MEBRD). A pseudo-‘Marshall Plan’ for the Arab world will not be far-reaching enough to address all the region’s challenges. A regional financing institution is required … As a regional entity, MEBRD would be able to tailor solutions to the needs of individual nations. Its scope and mandate should be similar to the post-1989 effort to rebuild eastern and central Europe. A MEBRD would be set-up as a multilateral institution, a joint undertaking by all the countries of the region.”

Dr. Nasser H. Saidi, Former Chief Economist of the DIFC.