Promoting Inclusive Growth in the MENA Region: The Role of Social Spending and Financial Inclusion

Adnan Kassar School of Business 903 – Beirut campus

The Department of Economics at the Adnan Kassar School of Business and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are pleased to invite you to attend the seminar.


Public social spending in MENA remains low, which may explain why it lags the rest of the world in many socioeconomic indicators. Our analysis suggests that a sustained 10 percent increase in social spending could reduce that gap by 20–40 percent. However, expanding social protection systems may prove difficult for countries that have emerged from the pandemic with weaker fiscal positions. Thus, it will require rationalizing other public expenditures, and improving the efficiency and targeting of social programs. We also show that the level of financial inclusion is below what is predicted by indicators of their financial depth in many countries. This may reflect policy distortions, including restrictions on banking activities that limit competition, which increase borrowing costs for SMEs and households, complicates requirements and increases the cost of providing collateral.

Youth Fellowship Program

The presenters will also introduce the 2023 IMF Youth Fellowship Program, where selected participants will attend the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings in #Marrakech2023. Apply soon at


  1. Adolfo Barajas, Senior Economist, IMF
  2. Anastasia Guscina, Deputy Division Chief,  IMF
  3. Anta Ndoye, IMF Representative in Mauritania

The event will also be streamed on this link