Please share case studies and examples regarding the following e-discussion topic “What are good policies and legal practices within the Middle East and North Africa region for stimulating and enabling South-South investments for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals?”  These could be related to trade agreements, economic integration, public-private partnerships, regional and sub-regional frameworks and mobilizing financial resources, including FDI.

Comments (6)

Maha  Abusamra
Maha Abusamra

We just shared one Publication which considered one the best practices from the State of Palestine; it is the  Civil Service Code of Conduct. 

Also, there is an on line report by OECD. This report analyses the underlining factors of an effective Code of Conduct in the overall framework of the Palestinian Authority's public governance reform to build open and transparent institutions…

Currently,  As part of south-south cooperation, the General Personnel Council (GPC), are providing support to the other countries i code of conduct n the Middle East, for both formulation and implementation methodology.

South-South Global Thinkers Team
South-South Global Thinkers Team Moderator

Thanks Shagufta for sharing the example of Bahrain's ‘Cloud First Policy’. Indeed, research shows that Bahrain's reforms and regulatory improvements have made the country a very appealing one for businesses. This provides incentives for entrepreneurs wanting to launch startups. As this article shows (, Bahrain is attracting Indian tech companies. The article also states that "Bahrain has one of the highest mobile and broadband penetration rates in the region and has reached a mature stage in fixed and mobile broadband market development."

Shagufta Ahmad
Shagufta Ahmad

According to the Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bahrain has developed several regional firsts making it emerge as a digital economy attractive to foreign investment. Some examples are Bahrain's ‘Cloud First Policy’, enabling the public sector to improve efficiencies, increase productivity and reduce IT expenditures by 30% to 90%. Bahrain also became the first country in the GCC to introduce a nationwide Regulatory Sandbox framework providing an opportunity for FinTech (Financial Technology) businesses to test new technologies in Bahrain and expand to the wider region. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) established a dedicated FinTech Unit to support the financial services sector in developing new technologies and innovation in the field. Such initiatives will certainly contribute towards growth and industry (SDGs 8 & 9).

Omar Al-Ubaydli
Omar Al-Ubaydli

The north-south differences today are much smaller than 40 years ago. Today, south countries are able to produce world class human capital that remains in the south, and isn't fixated on migrating to the north.

As a result, there are excellent research institutions in many south countries. In many cases, due to the small scale, or due to limited funding, the excellence is in narrow fields. So, instead of the comprehensively excellent Harvard University, you get King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM, which is excellent in geology and engineering.

In such cases, there is much to be gained by reciprocal investments with other south countries, designed to exploit complementary expertise.

For example, Saudi Arabia should consider opening a branch of KFUPM in India, with India opening a branch of one of its top technical universities in Saudi Arabia.

Prior to undertaking such large-scale investments, there should be some preparatory steps, such as student exchange, researcher exchange, and joint research.

Shagufta Ahmad
Shagufta Ahmad

Student and researcher exchange programs among countries of the global south is a really good idea. The practice is quite common between the north and south with many US and UK universities setting up exchange programs with India and the Middle East. However, for true south-south cooperation, cultural and knowledge exchange between southern countries is essential. Examples do exist - such as India's famous Birla Institute of Technology opening its branch in Dubai to cater to its majority expatriate population. However, these efforts need to be augmented and scaled up.
On the topic of expatriate populations, I will also say that the migrant worker policy of the gulf countries has contributed a great deal to poverty reduction (SDG 1) in the home countries. However, issues of expatriate integration within the host countries needs to be studied due to the extended stay of the migrant workers (sometimes more than a generation).

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