FNF MENA holds Economic Freedom of the Arab World Conference

Announcement23.12.2019Marielle Marktanner

What relates changes in the Arab World to Economic Freedoms? The Friedrich Naumann Foundation Middle East and North Africa held a conference with experts from the MENA region as well as from abroad to find out. On December 19th, 2019 the Economic Freedom of the Arab World Report 2019 was launched in Beirut, Lebanon together with the Fraser Institute, International Research Foundation, and Carnegie Middle East Center. Panelists and participants went Beyond the Data to envisage the path of economic agendas set for 2020 in the MENA region.

The conference was opened by Resident Fellow Dr. Michael A. Walker Chair of Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute, Mr. Fred McMahon as well as by FNF Middle East and North Africa Regional Director, Mr. Dirk Kunze.

Following a synopsis of the report by Mr. McMahon, Mr. Ali Ahmed Hassan, Executive Director of the Secularists Forum for Economy and Development delivered a commentary of the report.

Next, two conference sessions took place. The first, entitled "War, Economy and Politics, the cases of Syria, Yemen, and Libya" was a panel discussion moderated by Director of Communications at the Carnegie Middle East Center, Dr. Mohanad Hage Ali, with panelists Dr. Mazen Derawan, Mr. Hamza Meddeb, and Former Yemeni Amabassador Mustafa Noman. The second session, also a panel discussion, was entitled "'Why Nations Fail' - Lebanon and the Economic Crisis" and was moderated by Ms. Lori Haytayan, with panelists Mr. Ibrahim Jouhari, Mr. Yasser Akkaoui, and Dr. Nassib Ghobril.

Following these sessions, two scenerio building workshops took place: one facilitated by Dr. Mohanad Hage Ali on 'The Geopolitical Economy of the Persian Gulf' and the other facilitated by Dr. Nouh El Harmouzi, on 'Migration, Interdependency, and Euro-Maghreb Economic Relations'. In the workshops, participants from across the MENA region gave their contributions on these subjects, while relating back to the core theme of economic freedom.

After the workshop, the participants came together again for the Keynote Speech by Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperty, Mr. Mustafa Akyol. His speech, The Prospects of Liberty in Islam, greatly resonated with the conference participants. 

To conclude the conference, a third session was held in an Agora format which was moderated by Ms. Yara Asmar with participants Mr. Mustafa Aloush and Mr. Fred McMahon.

Curious to learn more about Economic Freedom in the Arab World? Download the reports below (available in English and Arabic).