The Middle East Institute is proud to host economists Andreas Bauer and Dr. Zubair Iqbal for an examination of the economic impact of the upheavals affecting Arab Spring countries, including Egypt and Tunisia. Since the 2011 uprisings, growth in the MENA region has slowed, inequality worsened, and unemployment increased, thus weakening the popular support needed for new governments to introduce difficult, but necessary, economic reforms. The speakers will address the reasons for the inadequate reforms taken by these new governments and the economic consequences of an unchanged policy environment. By focusing on developments in Egypt, they will highlight the economic challenges posed by recent events, strategies to address them and what role the international community can play in helping stabilize Arab economies.
Andreas Bauer is an Assistant Director in the Middle East and Central Asia department at the International Monetary Fund. He is in charge of a division that covers Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza. Mr. Bauer also leads the missions to Egypt. Mr. Bauer joined the IMF in 2000 and has served in several positions in the Office of the Managing Director, the Fiscal Affairs Department, and the Western Hemisphere Department. Prior to his career at the IMF, Mr. Bauer held senior positions at the Ministry of Finance of Chile, including chief of staff to the minister and director of the Ministry's New York office. He also worked in the private sector as an emerging markets analyst for Credit Suisse. Mr. Bauer holds a degree in economics from the University of St.Gallen (Switzerland) and an MA in Applied Macroeconomics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Dr. Zubair Iqbal joined MEI as adjunct scholar in 2008, before which he worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for thirty five years, retiring in 2007 as Assistant Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department. Before joining the IMF, Iqbal worked as Senior Research Fellow, at the Department of Economics, at Islamabad University in Pakistan. At the IMF, Iqbal held multiple postings ranging from those for the development of macroeconomic and exchange and trade policies for adjustment and growth in member countries, strategies for IMF-member country relations, design of adjustment programs for the balance of payments assistance and technical support. He also served as senior advisor to the Saudi Arabian Executive Director to the IMF. In addition to operational work, Iqbal conducted and guided research in trade policy issues, role and effectiveness of foreign aid, external debt, Islamic banking and finance, regional integration (primarily in the Middle East), and transition from oil dependence to more diversified economies. In the process, he wrote or edited 5 books and over forty articles in the IMF and external research publications.