Fiscal Year 2024
Financial Supervision and Regulation
Regional Workshop on “IFRS9: A Supervisory Perspective” (May 29-Jun 1)
The IMF Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Center (METAC) and the IMF Center for Economics and Finance (CEF) jointly organized a regional workshop on “IFRS9: A Supervisory Perspective”. The purpose of the regional workshop was to build the knowledge of the participants on IFRS 9 standard, guide them on the role of the supervisor, discuss the implementation challenges and exchange country experience. The course was attended by 36 participants from 14 countries. The course presented the key requirements of IFRS 9, the guidance on the staging of credit risk and the evaluation criteria. It also provided in-depth sessions on the Expected Credit Loss (ECL) model assessment, the role of the supervisor in interrogating the key components of an ECL framework, and the importance of governance and control frameworks for an effective ECL. The course provided case studies on how to practically identify deficiencies in ECL frameworks. The participants were actively engaged and interacted enthusiastically during the course. The overall feedback of the participants was very encouraging.
Revised Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision (Sep 12-13)
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) recently issued a public consultation on revisions to the Core Principles for effective banking supervision, standards which stand as the de facto minimum for sound prudential regulation and supervision of banks and banking systems universally. The IMF Monetary and Capital Markets Department (MCM), alongside METAC and other IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centers, organized webinars on “Revised Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision.”, which aimed to raise awareness about the consultation and delve into the proposed changes. Topics covered included financial risks, operational resilience, systemic risk, digitalization of finance, climate-related financial risks, and more. Representatives from the IMF and World Bank also highlighted the use of the Core Principles in the Financial Stability Assessment Program (FSAP). The events drew significant attention, demonstrating strong interest in the evolving standards of banking supervision across diverse regions.
Gender and Inequality
A Practical Approach to Evidence-Based Policy Design (Nov 7-9)
The workshop, organized by METAC and the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, focused on providing participants with a comprehensive understanding of the tools and techniques for i) identifying macro-critical gender gaps and assessing the macroeconomic impacts of gender inequality, and ii) assessing structural policy using a macro-inequality lens. Through interactive sessions, participants learned how to effectively integrate gender into analytical and policy research and promote inclusive growth. The workshop also provided a hands-on overview of the basic concepts of inequality and macroeconomics using heterogeneous agent models and showcased country experiences from the MENA region.
Public Financial Management
Regional Workshop on Measuring Gross Capital Formation (May 7-11)
In collaboration with the IMF's Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (CEF), METAC conducted a five-day workshop on Measuring Gross Capital Formation. The workshop was attended by 34 participants from 16 Arab countries and covered concepts, data sources, and measurement methods to compile estimates of gross fixed capital formation, changes in inventories, consumption of fixed capital, and stocks of produced assets at current prices and in volume terms.
Macro-Fiscal Policy Planning and Advisory (Oct 9-12)
The four-day course on Macro Fiscal Planning was conducted at the IMF CEF in Kuwait, involving 33 participants from 13 countries, bringing together mid-to senior-level officials of central banks, ministries of finance, economy and planning in the region. The objective was to enhance their understanding as well as share practical experiences in macro-fiscal policy planning and advisory. The course was delivered through lectures, roundtable discussions, and workshops, including through live policy simulations.
Most Ministries of Finance in the MENA region have started to develop macro-fiscal functions. Other ministries and central banks have also put policy formulation as a key priority in their list of reforms. Macro fiscal planning is becoming increasingly important in the MENA region: For instance, for crisis management when countries need to best manage their scarce resources; or when they need to efficiently plan the use of natural resource windfall profits over the medium term. While centralized to serve staff working on Medium-term Fiscal Frameworks (MTFF), this training program was designed to open new horizons for policymakers’ aides towards deploying multi-layered, wide-scoped, and diligent thinking, as they address their core functions, including macro-fiscal and policy planning. The course addressed theories, concepts, and selected intuitive lessons to serve the purpose.
Regional Workshop Managing Tax Compliance Risks in the Oil and Gas Industry Sector (Jul 10-13)
METAC organized a regional workshop on “Managing Tax Compliance Risks in the Oil and Gas Industry Sector” in Amman, Jordan. It was attended by 28 participants from 13 METAC countries and 3 Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Through a pre-questionnaire and country presentations, participants identified the most significant challenges their tax administrations are facing in managing the Oil and Gas sector. IMF experts addressed in plenary sessions common and country-specific risks and the Oil and Gas value chain, examined the characteristic of the sector, and identified risks at each phase of the industry lifecycle.
Organizational Design of Tax Administrations (Oct 23-26)
The four-day workshop delivered at IMF CEF in Kuwait was attended by 26 officials from 14 countries. Based on the VITARA modules on ‘Organization’ and ‘Institutional Governance’, the workshop provided an overview of international good practices in organizational design and institutional governance in modern tax administrations. As most of the participating countries are under continuous pressure to enhance revenue mobilization, they face the challenge of optimizing their structures, processes, and systems. By means of lectures, presentations, discussions, and interactive case studies, participants gained insights into the significance of adopting a systematic approach to organizational (re)design (OD) and the essential governance requirements for achieving effective tax administration. Participants appreciated the usefulness and comprehensiveness of the workshop, acknowledging that they had gained valuable insights and understanding of the topics.
Real Sector Statistics
Regional Workshop on Compiling Supply and Use Tables (Jun 11-15)
In collaboration with the Arab Institute for Training and Research in Statistics (AITRS), METAC conducted a five-day workshop on Compiling Supply and Use Tables. The workshop was attended by 23 participants from 12 Arab countries and covered topics such as data sources and practical compilation techniques, balancing methods, transforming SUTs into input-output tables, and compiling SUTs in volume terms. Participants benefitted from presentations by the IMF expert, doing exercises for self-learning, and peer-to-peer learning through discussions on country practices.
Regional Workshop on Measuring Financial Services (Oct 1-5)
In collaboration with the IMF's Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (CEF), METAC conducted a five-day workshop on Measuring Financial Services. The workshop was attended by 30 participants from 11 Arab countries and covered the techniques and methods used to estimate financial services in nominal and volume terms, their impact on the sequence of accounts, and estimation of financial institutions’ output, intermediate consumption and gross value added as recommended by the 2008 System of National Accounts.
Anti-Money Laundering And Combating The Financing Of Terrorism (AML/CFT)
Co-hosted by METAC and financed by the AML/CFT Trust Fund
Kuwait—CEF Training on Beneficial Ownership (Sep 10-14)
The AML/CFT Regional Advisor contributed to an IMF training for MENA countries on transparency of beneficial ownership. The training also benefited from the contribution of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) Secretariat and was hosted by the IMF’s training center (CEF) in Kuwait. The training was based on the IMF’s recent publication “Unmasking Control: A Guide to Beneficial Ownership Transparency” and aimed at improving the participants’ understanding of the concept of beneficial ownership, its relevance to the prevention of misuse of legal entities, and the related obligations arising from the FATF recommendations. The participants derived from a variety of institutions, such as central banks, financial intelligence units, ministries of finance, tax authorities, and anti-corruption and procurement agencies.
AML/CFT Assessors Training Course (Sep 25-29)
In collaboration with the FATF and the MENAFATF, the AML/CFT Regional Advisor participated in the delivery of a five-day AML/CFT assessors training course in Cairo. Participants from the MENA region and across the FATF Global Network learned about applying the FATF Standards and evaluating countries' technical compliance with FATF requirements, as well as assessing the effectiveness of their measures.
Workshop on the use of Financial Intelligence in Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Investigations (Oct 16-20)
Under a regional CD project for MENA countries led by the AML/CFT Regional Advisor, a mission conducted a workshop on the use of financial intelligence in money laundering and terrorism financing investigations in Muscat, Oman. The course was attended by AML/CFT officials from Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Somalia, Syria, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen, mainly targeting jurisdictions that are scheduled to undergo an AML/CFT mutual evaluation in the next few months.
Fiscal Year 2024
Workshop Organized by the Institute of Finance Basil Fulaihan and the UN Women Office (Jun 6)
In a training workshop organized jointly by the Institute of Finance Basil Fulaihan and the UN Women office in Lebanon, METAC contributed a presentation on “the lessons learned by the regional and international experience in Gender Budgeting”. The training was attended by around 30 government officials and employees from public enterprises. The presentation focused on how to integrate the gender perspective in the different PFM phases, including budget planning, preparation, execution, and monitoring, while presenting a few success stories from the region.
METAC Regional Conference (Jun 7-8)
METAC organized a regional conference on June 7-8 in Beirut, Lebanon, to inaugurate the Center’s new Program Phase (2023 – 2027) and mark the reopening of its office premises following the tragic August 2020 Beirut harbor explosion. The conference was followed by METAC’s annual Steering Committee meeting. With the start of the new program phase, the fifth one since the Center opened in 2004, METAC plans to double the volume of capacity development delivery to its member countries across the MENA region.
The event brought together representatives from METAC member countries, development partners, civil society, and the IMF to foster capacity development collaboration, facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges, and strengthen coordination. Four panel sessions discussed capacity development needs and challenges, capacity development partnerships, the role of fiscal transparency in economic governance, and the importance of gender equality for economic policy.
Development Partner Meetings (Jun 6-13)
On the sidelines of METAC’s regional conference, Holger Floerkemeier (METAC) and Ms. Ann-Margret Westin (IMF Global Partnerships) conducted a series of outreach meetings with development partners to inform about METAC’s work and discuss cooperation opportunities, including Canada, Norway, Germany (GIZ), the United States (USAID), and the European Investment Bank (EIB). Mr. Floerkemeier also held meetings with Ms. Mehrinaz El Awady, UN ESCWA Leader of the Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development Cluster to plan collaboration in the areas of gender and inclusion and attended ESCWA’s 2nd Arab Forum for Equality.
METAC contributed to an IMF departmental paper (DP/2023/005) on “Managing Fiscal Risks in the Middle East and North Africa” prepared jointly by the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department (MCD) and the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD). The paper analyzes the sources of fiscal risks in 17 low- and middle-income countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan region, excluding high-income Gulf countries. It finds that important macroeconomic shocks, contingent liabilities, and tail-risk events have affected the region in recent years, with a strong impact on macroeconomic outcomes. These are likely to remain important sources of vulnerability in the future, raising the need for robust fiscal risk management frameworks. The paper takes note of ongoing efforts to enhance fiscal risk management capacity in the region and discusses avenues for reforms to further strengthen them. It highlights the importance of building appropriate institutional frameworks for fiscal risk management, enhancing transparency on fiscal risks, and deploying a wide range of mitigation measures to better control them, drawing on the IMF’s fiscal risk management framework and international best practice.
High-Level Roundtable Workshop and Follow Up with Algerian Authorities (Sep 17-19)
METAC Director Holger Floerkemeier and Central Bank Operations Advisor Stefaan Ide participated in the 47th Ordinary Session of The Council of Arab Central Banks and Monetary Authorities Governors and the High-Level Roundtable Workshop, organized by the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) in Algiers (Algeria). Mr. Ide contributed as panelist in the high-level workshop session on Effective Monetary-Fiscal Policy Interactions in a High Inflation Environment.
OECD MENA Senior Budget Officials Meeting in Dubai (Sep 19-20)
METAC Director Holger Floerkemeier, and PFM Advisor Mr. Jonas Frank participated in the OECD MENA Senior Budget Officials Meeting in Dubai. The event was attended by 42 participants, including from four METAC countries (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia) and six GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE). The meeting included engagement with budget officials regarding FAD and METAC support modalities in budgeting, highlighting key assessment tools such as the FTE and PIMA/C-PIMA; country examples on recent TA in budget planning and macro-fiscal planning including medium-term fiscal frameworks (MTFF); and the regional agenda on fiscal and budget transparency with collaboration by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) and the Bureau of Arab States of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
New Frontiers of Openness: Advancing Budget Transparency and Accountability in the MENA Region (Oct 14)
During the Annual Meetings in Marrakech, METAC organized the Roundtable “New Frontiers of Openness: Advancing Budget Transparency and Accountability in the MENA Region”. The high-level event demonstrated the benefits of greater budget transparency and highlighted reforms and opportunities for progress in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The event brought together representatives from government and civil society from countries in the region, the IMF,
the International Budget Partnership (IBP) and the European Union (EU) to stimulate debate on fiscal transparency from different angles and address concerns over greater openness. Speakers from the region showcased their efforts and examples of successful economic reform implementation, as well as the challenges that remain. The roundtable event drew significant attention both from in-person and virtual audiences.
Desk Reviews of Open Budget Survey for Selected METAC Countries
As part of an FAD-IBP Partnership, PFM Advisors Mr. Sobhi and Mr. Frank conducted desk reviews of the draft Open Budget Survey (OBS) for two METAC countries. The inputs will be used in the finalization of the surveys, which will be published as part of the OBS 2023 edition in End-May 2024.