Financial inclusion in the Middle East and North Africa and its Effect on Unemployment

Nooh Alshyab, Demeh Daradkah, Serena Sandri
08/07/2020

The purpose of this study is to investigate empirically the relationship between financial inclusion and unemployment for a sample of countries within the MENA. An index for financial inclusion, using Sarma (2008), has been estimated for Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia during the period 2008-2018. The estimated index for financial inclusion reveals that, despite some progress, there is a need to foster financial inclusion in the region. Based on this index, the impact of financial inclusion on unemployment has been tested. The estimation of a random effect model testing the relationship between financial inclusion and unemployment shows a negative effect of financial inclusion on unemployment for the selected sample of countries.

Financial Inclusion: A New Multi-dimensional Index and Determinants – Evidence from the Union for the Mediterranean Countries

Rym Ayadi, Dorra Mezzez Hmaied, Rania Makni, Olfa Benouda Sioud, Soumaya Ben Khelifa
08/07/2020

This paper proposes a new multi-dimensional financial inclusion index based on a two-stage Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and aggregating indicators of availability, access and use. The paper first assesses the cross-country variations in the index and analyses trends over time for a sample of countries members of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) from 2010-18. Second, it investigates factors that could explain the level of financial inclusion across countries.

Our financial inclusion index shows a downward trend for the full sample over the period under investigation, however when splitting the sample by income group, it appears that high and middle income countries did not register the same trend. When examining the determinants of financial inclusion for UfM countries, we find that macroeconomic, social and governance factors, as well as banking conditions, matter.

A COVID-19 Severity Index

Moubarack Lô, Amaye Sy
05/06/2020

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) qualified the Covid-19 virus, which originated in China in December 2019, as a pandemic, since on that date it had circulated across all continents and to the vast majority of countries worldwide.

Since January 2020, some countries have experienced a favourable trend (concomitantly recording a slowdown in new infections, a continuous increase in recoveries and a decrease in deaths linked to the disease), whilst others are still struggling to control the propagation of the virus and its negative consequences on the lives of the sick.

It seemed necessary to us, therefore, to build a synthetic index, which summarises the respective performances of countries in their strategy for fighting the virus. This index will make it possible at any time, to instantly estimate the severity of the pandemic in different countries. The index is calculated on a weekly frequency for 169 countries.

As of 10 May 2020, the average score for the countries in the sample is 0.74, corresponding to a globally moderate severity. Europe has an average score of 0.77 and has seen a significant decrease in severity in recent weeks. For Africa, the scores are between 0.99 and 0.30, with an average of 0.70. In America, scores range from a low of 0.34 to 0.98, with an average of 0.69, the highest level of severity in the world. Asia averages a score of 0.74. Oceania performs the best, with an average score of 0.98.

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