American University of Beirut

Pre 2018 Events

​​Recent Workshops/Conferences ​​​

Institute of Financial Economics
Department of Economics
Center for Arab and Middle East Studies

Book Launch and Panel on
Democratic Transitions in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, 2017)


Welcome:  Simon NeaimeAmerican University of Beirut
Moderator:  Samir Makdisi 
American University of Beirut
Speaker:  Amaney JamalPrinceton University
Comment: Ibrahim Elbadawi 
 Economic Research Forum, Cairo
Comment:  Noha El Mikawy 
Ford Foundation, Cairo
Comment: Raed Safadi
 Dubai Department for Economic Development
​ ​Open discussion
​ ​College Hall, Auditorium B1
February 6, 2017 , 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Institute of Financial Economics and FEMISE Association:
150th Anniversary of the Ame​​​rican University of Beirut
Workshop on: Unlocking the Pot​ential of the Private Sector in South Med Countries
​​​AUB, College Hall Auditorium B1, 5th December 2016


A dynamic private sector could make a real contribution towards achieving inclusive development in the South Med region. So far, while the sector provides more than half of the jobs in the region, its overall contribution to economic growth is relatively modest compared to its potential. Furthermore, the sector has been facing greater difficulties in the wake of the uprisings of 2011 and the associated economic and political instabilities.  The challenges are at two levels:

  1. At the macro level, the region suffers large macroeconomic imbalances and sluggish economic growth. ​Rising budget and balance of payments deficits are associated with large increases in government debts, volatile exchange rates, soaring inflation rates, lowering credit ratings, foreign investment outflows and declining international reserves. This volatile environment is impeding the private sector from achieving its potential and is calling for major interventions from governments and central banks to stabilise the economy.
  2. At the micro level, the sector faces a large number of obstacles: complex administrative procedures and access to finance are on top of the list. While SMEs have some of the lowest levels of usage of bank-loans compared with other regions in the world (except sub-Saharan Africa), start-ups face important impediments in accessing growth capital such as angel finance and venture capital from more specialized investors. Actions are needed to overcome such constraints and to support access to finance.

Beside efforts by governments in the region, the international community has provided support to the sector. The EU alone has invested an average of 350 million per year in the last decade, in addition to technical assistance. Other international financial institutions have done the same. However, more still needs to be done.

To this end, FEMISE and the Institute of financial Economics of the American University of Beirut (AUB) are delighted to organise this workshop on: “Unlocking the Potential of the Private Sector in South Med Countries”, at the premises of the AUB, Beirut on the 5th of December 2016. The workshop will gather representatives from: research community, policy makers and financial institutions, private sector and international donors, where a constructive dialogue between the different parties will be established.  


The key question addressed in the workshop is: “What measures could be taken to unlock the potentials of the private sector in the South Med countries?

To address this question, the speakers and participants in the workshop will cover three key areas:

  • First, an in-depth analysis of the macroeconomic environment, showing how the current landscape has a negative impact on the development of the private sector and discussing appropriate policy responses;
  • Second, an analysis of what are the obstacles facing the private sector more broadly and SMEs in particular, including access to finance, and exploring how the lessons from success stories could be transposed; and
  • Third, an assessment of the role of the international community towards the development of a vibrant private sector and exploring new approaches.


The workshop will be organised over one day in three main sessions and one roundtable discussion session:

Session 1: Macroeconomic challenges in South Med will address the main macroeconomic challenges of the South Med countries and its impact on the private sector development. The session will include a discussion between researchers and policy makers (e.g. central banks representatives) on what potential economic reforms could be envisaged;

Session 2: Private sector Development; obstacles and opportunities will look into the challenges facing the Private Sector Development in the south Med region including access to finance, identify what has been done, what successful measures can be replicated and which sectors/projects need to be supported and for which reasons;

Session 3: The Role for the International Community in Enhancing the Private Sector will include some of the international community initiatives to support this sector, including the EU (DG-NEAR), OECD and other institutions.

The workshop will close with a Roundtable discussion on the way forward for the private sector, which will entail a dialogue between the different parties.


9h00-9h30Welcome note and Opening Remarks

Ahmed Galal (FEMISE, ERF), Patricia Augier (FEMISE, IM), Simon Neaime (FEMISE, AUB)
9h30-11h00Session 1: Macroeconomic challenges in South Med

Moderator: Ahmed Galal, FEMISE and ERF
  • Sustainability of EU-Med Macroeconomic Policies and the Role of the Private Sector: Post-Financial and Debt Crises, Simon Neaime, AUB

  • Monetary Policy in Lebanon and Meeting  the Debt Challenges, Dr. Youssef El-Khalil, Director, Financial Operations Department at the Central Bank of Lebanon

  • Monetary Policy in the South Med Countries Post Recent Crises, with a focus on Tunisia and the impact of the IMF program, Sami Mouley, Tunis El Manar

  • The Role of the Central Banks in encouraging the private sector, the case of Egypt, Dr. Ghada Abel Al-Hadi Kadil, Central Bank of Egypt

Floor discussion (30 min) on how the Macro environment impacts the Private Sector development.
11h00-11h30Coffee Break
11h30-13h00: Session 2: Private Sector Development: Obstacles and Opportunities

Moderator: Patricia Augier, FEMISE and IM

 An overview on the private sector development and how to move forward, P. Augier, FEMISE and IM

 The status of regional initiatives to boost SMEs in South Med Med Countries. Marie-Jo Char, EBESM, GIZ

Overcoming Constraints to SME Development in MENA Countries and Enhancing Access to Finance, Qamar Saleem, Senior SME Banking Specialist MENA, IFC, Jordan

Facilitating access to finance for SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa, SANAD (, Germany and Egypt

 Overcoming Constraints to SMEs in Lebanon by securing loans, Khater Abi Habib, President and CEO of the SME loan guarantee finance company, Kafalat

Floor discussion (30min) on whether suggested measures are transferable and on which sectors to prioritize.
13h00-14h30 Lunch
14h30-16h00 Session 3: The Role for the International Community in Enhancing the Private Sector

Moderator: Samir Makdisi, AUB and FEMISE

   EU initiative to enhance the private sector in South-MED countries, Ms Ingrid Schwaiger (Deputy Head of Unit, Regional Programmes, Neighbourhood South, DG NEAR) OR representative from the EC office in Lebanon

  Overcoming the Challenges to Enterprise Financing in the MENA Region, Alissa Koldertsova, MENA-OECD Investment Programme

  Access to finance in the MENA region A multi-pronged approach, Estelle Brack, Senior Advisor & Senior Economist at French Banking Federation, Franc

What support is really needed from the international community to the private sector, Emmanuel Noutary, ANIMA

Floor discussion (30min) on whether suggested measures are transferable and on which sectors to prioritize
 16h00-16h15 Coffee Break
16h15-17:30Session 4: Roundtable discussion and closing: Way forward for the Private sector

Moderator: Raed Safadi, Chief Economic Advisor, Office of Director-General, Department of Economic Development, Dubai Government.
  • Ahmed Galal, FEMISE, ERF

  • Patricia Augier, FEMISE, IM

  • Simon Neaime, AUB        

  • Khater Abi Habib, Kafalat, Lebanon

  • EU Representative

  • Emmanual Noutary, ANIMA

Institute of Financial Economics  

Workshop :2nd December 2016
American University of Beirut | Nicely Hall, Room 316 | IFE

1. Workshop Summary

08:45 - 09:00 Welcome Remarks
09:00 - 10:30 Session 1
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break/Morning Tea
11:00 - 12:30
Session 2
12:30 - 14:00Lunch
14:00 - 15:30
Session 3
15:30 - 16:00
Coffee Break/Afternoon tea
16:00 - 17:30Session 4
17:30 - 17:45 Closing Remarks

Detailed List of Sessions

08:45 - 09:00Welcome and Opening Remarks

Simon Neaime (American University of Beirut),  Leila Dagher  (American University of Beirut),  and Lynda Khalaf (Carleton University)
09:00 to 10:30Session 1:
  1. Exogeneity Tests and IV Estimation: Is the Cure Worse Than the Illness? Jean-Marie Dufour (McGill University) and Firmin Doko Tchatoka (University of Adelaide).
  2. Measurement Error Without Exclusion: the Returns to College Selectivity and Characteristics, Karim Chalak (University of Virginia) and Daniel Kim.
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break/Morning Tea
11:00 to 12:30Session 2:
  1. An Improved Bootstrap Test for Restricted Stochastic Dominance, Thomas Lok (University of Sydney), and Rami Tabri (University of Sydney).
  2. Reliable Non-parametric Inference with Inequality Measures, Jean-Marie Dufour (McGill University), Emmanuel Flachaire (Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS & EHESS), Lynda Khalaf (Carleton University), and Abdallah Zalghout (Carleton University).
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 to 15:30Session 3:
  1. Adaptive Inference in Semiparametric Multinomial Response Models, Shakeeb Khan (Boston College/Duke University), F. Ouyang (Duke University), and Elie Tamer (Harvard University).
  2. MCMC Confidence Sets for Identified Sets, Xiaohong Chen (Yale University), Timothy M. Christensen (New York University), and Elie Tamer (Harvard University).
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break/Afternoon Tea
16:00 to 17:30Session 4:
  1. Financial Exclusion and Stability in MENA: Evidence from Poverty and Inequality, Simon Neaime (American University of Beirut) and Isabelle Gaysset (American University of Beirut).
  2. Monetary Policy Uncertainty, Positions of Traders and Changes in Commodity Futures Prices, Nikolay Gospodinov (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta) and Ibrahim Jamali (American University of Beirut).
17:30 - 17:45 Closing Remarks

Simon Neaime (AUB) and Elie Tamer (Harvard University).

Public Lectures and Workshops/Conferences

Public lecture on "Consociational Ligrachies-The Difficult Choice Between Democracy and Peace", Speaker Professor Daniel Bochsler, April 14, 2016, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.

  • Lecture on "Consolidating Democracy in Tunisia: the Economic Dimension", Speaker Dr. Mongi Boughzala, November 26, 2015, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Celebrating AUB's 150 Anniversay, the Institute of Financial Economics is organizing a one day Panel Discussion on "Democratic Transitions in the Arab Region: Aspirations and Realtiy", participants include academicians and researcher from and outside AUB, November 27, 2015, College Hall, Auditorium B1.
  • Lecture on "Weak Beta, Strong Beta: Factor Proliferation and Rank Restrictions", with J.M. Dufour and Marie Claude Beaulieu, Speaker Dr. Lynda Khalaf, October 20, 2015, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Workshop on "The Arab World In The Wake Of The Uprisings: Transition to Democracy vs Regeneration of Autocracy", Participants include academicians and researcher from and outside AUB, January 30 & 31, 2015, College Hall Auditorium B1.
  • Lecture on "Lebanon:Addressing the Destabilizing Impact of Regional Conflicts on National Development" , Speaker Dr. Youssef El Khalil, October 23, 2014, IFE, Nicely Hall 316.
  • International Conference on "Deconstructing Arab Transitions: Regional Overview and Case Studies", Participants include academicians and researcher from and outside AUB, November 8 & 9, 2013, West Hall Auditorium A.
  • In collaboration with the Center for the Study of Democracy at Westminster University Workshop on" Rethinking the Arab Transition" ,the workshop will deliberate three main topics: "Deconstructing Arab Transitions", Consolidating Arab Democracies", and the "Unfolding Transitions in Egypt and Tunisia". Participants include academicians and researcher from AUB, Westminster University, Oxford University, Cairo University and Al Manar University (Tunis), October 4, 2013, London
  •  In collaboration with  Issam Fares Institute for Public and International Relations  a Panel discussion held on “Will Lebanon Transit to a fully-fledged Democracy? Economic and Political Perspectives”, Speakers: Simon Neaime, Rami Khouri, Samir Makdisi, Fadia Kiwan, Youssef El Khalil and George Corm, February 11, 2013, West Hall Auditorium B.
  • Lecture on “Financial Markets Uncertainty and the Argument for Central Counterparty Clearing of Over-the-Counter Derivative”, Speaker Dr. Steven McNamara, May 16, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • In collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Amman)  a Workshop held on “The Potential transition to democracy in the Arab Region: Underlying Factors & Prospects”, Speakers Simon Neaime, Samir Makdisi, Ibrahim Elbadawi, Martin Beck, Youssef Choueiri, Youssef El Khalil, Sari Hanafi, Marcus Marktanner, Atif Kubursi and Ghassan Dibeh, May 04, 2012, West Hall Auditorium B.
  • Lecture on “Risk Intelligence: How expert gamblers can teach us all to make better decisions”, Speaker Dr. Dylan Evans, April 25, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Metaethical Perspectives in Welfare Economics”, Speaker Dr. Ramzi Mabsout, April 18, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Regional Aspects of Competition in Lebanon: An Interregional CGE Approach”, Speaker Dr. Eduardo Haddad, March 30, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Product Diversification and Exporter Sales: Evidence from Jordan”, Speaker Dr. Jamal Ibrahim Haidar, March 28, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Drivers of Securitization: A Bank Level Examination”, Speaker Dr. Ali Termos, March 21, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “SBTC and the Minimum Wage: A Macroeconomic Analysis of Inequality”, Speaker Dr. Darius Martin, March 14, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “The European Debt Crisis”, Speaker Dr. Simon Neaime, March 07, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Structural Threshold Regression”, Speaker Dr. Thanasis Stengos, February 15, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Globalization, Crisis-and What Next?”, Speaker Dr. Grezegorz Kolodko, February 2, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Spurious Correlations Behaviors”, Speaker Dr. Christos Agiakloglou, January 11, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Factor Based Identification-Robust Inference in IV Regressions”, Speaker Dr. Lynda Khalaf, December 21, 2011, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “Poverty Assessment and Prospects of Development in Lebanon: The Estimation of a Living Condition Indicator as a Substitute to Revenue”, Speaker Dr. Sandra El-Saghir, December 07, 2011, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Lecture on “The Role of National Changes and Spatial Spillovers in State-Level Okun’s Law”, Speaker Dr. Martin Montero, November 30, 2011, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  •  Lecture on “The Greek Debt Crisis: Suggested Solutions and Reforms”, Speaker Dr. Leo Michelis, November 23, 2012, IFE, 316 Nicely Hall.
  • Workshop with Konrad Adenauer Foundation on "The Uprising in the Arab World: What Happened, What's Next?"; (Participants including academicians and experts from AUB, Lebanon and Arab Countries), May 06, 2011, West Hall, Auditorium A.
  • With the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and Interhnational Affairs, Presenation and Discussion by Elena Lanchovichina (Senior Economist at the world Bank) on "The major finding of the World Bank's latest report on Economic Developments and Prospectives in the MENA region" March 29, 2011, IFE, Nicely Hall, 316.
  • Lecture on "Doha Development Agenda: Declared Objectives Vs Realities", Speaker:  Dr. Raed Safadi, February 23, 2011, West Hall, Auditorium B.
  • Lecture on "Transition to Democracy In Tunisia: Underlying Economic and Political Factors", Speaker:  Professor Mongi Boughzala, February 10, 2011, West Hall, Auditorium B.
  • Lecture on " Alternatives to Fama-McBeth Estimation of Cross-Country Regressions Based Asset Pricing Models", Speaker: Professor Lynda Khalaf, December 15, 2011, IFe, Nicely Hall, 316.
  • Lecture on "Finance with a Focus on Dollar Debt: Evidence from a Survery of Lebanese Firms", Speaker: Professor Nada Mora, Novmeber 29, 2010, IFE, Nicely Hall, 316.
  • Lecture on "The Role of Telecommunications in Lebanon's Development" , Speaker: Dr. Charbel Nahhas, April 12, 2010, West Hall, Auditorium B.
  • Lecture on "Peer Effects, Fast Food and Obesity", Speaker: Dr. Myra Yazbek, , December 14, 2009, IFE, Nicely Hall, 316.
  • Lecture on "Capital Inflows and Monetary Policy in Lebanon", Speaker: Dr. Yusuf Khalil, Central Bank, November 16, 2009, IFE , Nicely Hall, 316.
  • Lecture on "Modeling Oil Prices ", Speaker: Dr. Lynda Khalaf, November 2, 2009, IFE, Nicely Hall, 316.
  • Lecture on "The Prospects and Risks for the World Economy", Speaker: Mr. Masood Ahmed,, April, 2, 2009, West Hall, Auditorium B.
  • Dissemination conference on the major findings of the project on "Democracy and Development in the Arab World" - October 24 -25, 2008, College Hall B1.
  • Lecture on " The Causes of Institutional Inefficiency: A Development Perspective ", Speaker: Professor Jean-Philippe Platteau, October 23, 2008, West Hall, 204.
  • Lecture on " Prospects for Reform in Egypt ". Speaker: Professor Saad Eddine Ibrahim, May 2, 2008,IFE, Nicely Hall, 316.
  • Lecture on "Monetary Policy Transmission and Targeting Mechanisms in the MENA Region" . Speaker: Professor Simon Neaime, March 18, 2008, IFE, Nicely Hall, 316.
  • Workshop on "Democracy and Development in Lebanon: Trapped by Consociationalism?" ; Speaker : Professor Marcus Marktanner; introductory remarks by Professor Samir Makdisi, February 19, 2008, IFE, Nicely Hall 316.
  • The Institute of Financial Economics held a workshop to review ongoing research pertaining to the Arab case studies under the research project "Democracy and Development in the Arab World" ; June 14-15, 2007, at College Hall - B1.
  • The Institute of Financial Economics and the Department of Economics held a lecture By Dr. George Corm on "Lebanon's Public Debt: An Alternative Development Model" : May 21, 2007, at College Hall - B1.
  • The Institute of Financial Economics and the Department of Economics in Collaboration with the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs held a Seminar on " The Challenges of Development and Democracy in Lebanon" ; April 13, 2007, at College Hall - B1.   The speakers :
  • Democracy and Development in Lebanon: Introductory Remarks, S. Makdisi (AUB).
  • Lebanon's Economic Development: An Overview, S. Neaime (AUB).
  • Lebanon's Democracy Status: Positive and Negative Influences, M. Marktanner (AUB).
  • Lebanon's "Consociational" Democracy: Theory and Practice,  F. Kiwan (USG).
  • Facing the Challenges: Institutional Development -  Open  discussion.
  • The Institute of Financial Economics in Collaboration with the Dubai School of Government (DSG) held a workshop  on "Democracy and Development in the Arab world" ; Feb. 23-24, 2007, at the DSG, Dubai.  The purpose of the workshop was to review on-going research pertaining to 8 Arab case studies included in the project.
  • Lecture by Dr. Ugo Panizza, Chief of the Debt and Finance Analysis Unit in the Debt and Development Finance Branch of UNCTAD,   "How to Reduce the Risks of Public Debt in Emerging Countries" ;  Feb. 12, 2007, 316 Nicely .
  • Lecture by Mr. Megerditch Bouldokian, Bank of Beirut, former V/Governor, Bank of Lebanon,  "International Banking:  The Management of Correspondent Banking" ;  May 8, 2006 .
  • Lecture by Dr. Fadi Osseiran, Head of the BLOM Investment Bank, "Investment Banking:  Issues and Policies" ;   April 4,  2006.
  • Lecture by Dr. Ali Abdel Gadir Ali, Deputy Director, Arab Planning Institute, Kuwait, "Rediscovering Relevant Development Policy" ; March 23, 2006.
  • Lecture by Dr. Imad Itani, Deputy General Manager, Bank Audi, Audi-Saradar Group, "Portfolio Management Issues in Lebanon" ; March 13, 2006.
  • Lecture by Dr. Mohammad Baasiri, Special Investigation Commission Secretary and MENA Financial Action Task Force President at the Banque du Liban  , Combating Money Laundering: Issues and Challenges" ;February 7, 2006.
  • Lecture by Dr. Jane Harrigan, Chair, Economic Department, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, " The Political and Economic Determinants of IMF and World Bank Lending in the MENA Region ", January 4, 2006.
  • Lecture by Dr. Jihad Azour, Minister of Finance, " Prospective Economic Reform In Lebanon ",  Nov. 8, 2005.
  • Lecture by Professor James Rauch, University of  California at San Diego, " Neckties in the Tropics: A Model of International Trade and Cultural Diversity ",  March 11, 2005.
  • Lecture by Professor James Rauch, University of California at San Diego, " Arab Human Development in Comparative Perspective" ,  May 19, 2005.
  • Lecture by Dr. Zeki Fattah, Advisor on Middle East Economic Development Issues, Former Head, Economic Development Program, UN ESCWA,  on : "The Global Industrial Scene and the Arab Countries" , May 11, 2005.
  • Lecture by Professor Atif Kubursi, McMaster University, Canada, " Oil and Water Never Mix Except in the Middle East ", December 20, 2004.
  • Lecture by Dr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, World Bank, Washington D.C., " Macroeconomic Framework for Poverty Reduction and Peace - Building with Reference to Post conflict Sudan ", December 17, 2004.
  • Lecture by Dr. Jihad Azour, Ministry of Finance, " Macroeconomics Management and Public Debt in Lebanon ", December 7, 2004.
  • Lecture by Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Mr. Riad Salame, " Monetary Policy in Lebanon: Future Perspectives ", December 6, 2004.

Past Public Lectures and Workshops

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