Efforts of Oil Exporters in the Middle East and North Africa to Diversify Away from Oil Have Fallen Short

Policy Brief
19-6
April 2019
Photo Credit: 
REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani/File Photo

Faced with fluctuating oil prices and other uncertainties, the oil-rich countries of the Middle East and North Africa have made efforts—some for decades—to diversify their exports, in order to reduce their dependence on oil revenue and generate much-needed jobs. The results of these diversification efforts have been disappointing overall, raising concerns about the region's stability and potential risk to the global economy. Transparent public debates and dialogue are needed, especially with the private sector, about policies that have worked and those that have not, the costs and benefits of various diversification strategies, and improving governance of public resources being used for diversification.

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