The social policies of countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have so far been insufficiently researched. This gap in research is also made visible by international data sets containing hardly any data on social policies in MENA countries. The problem is all the more astonishing since recent research shows that the MENA countries spend a relatively large amount of government budgets on social policies but focus on other instruments than countries in other parts of the world – in particular energy and food subsidies. In addition, social protection systems in many MENA countries are highly inefficient and require comprehensive reform. This holds also for the pension schemes in the region.
The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) will therefore hold a workshop in co-operation with Bielefeld University and the International Labour Organization (Regional Office for the Arab States) on 28-29 January 2020 to discuss the origins of pension schemes in the MENA region, understand their trajectories, identify options of systemic and parametric pension reforms and explore the complex politics behind them. Even though it is difficult to draw generalizing conclusions from single country cases on the whole region, we still believe that many countries in the region face similar challenges. These issues, including the rapid demographic transition, the extraordinarily low female labour force participation rate and particular nature of political regimes, make the technical and political economy dimensions of pension reform in the MENA an extremely interesting topic to be studied from a comparative perspective.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:
- Markus Loewe, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kerem Gabriel Öktem, Bielefeld University, email@example.com
For more information, kindly refer to the conference's website.