The Persian Gulf, except for Iraq. Its member

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, originally (and still colloquially) known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq. Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The Charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council was signed on 25 May 1981, formally establishing the institution. The original union comprised the 1,032,093-square-mile (2,673,110 km2) Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The unified economic agreement between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council was signed on 11 November 1981 in Abu Dhabi. These countries are often referred to as “the GCC states”. The objectives of forming such a council includes: • Formulating similar regulations in various fields such as religion, finance, trade, customs, tourism, legislation, and administration • Fostering scientific and technical progress in industry, mining, agriculture, water and animal resources • Establishing scientific research centres • Setting up joint ventures • Unified military (Peninsula Shield Force) • Encouraging cooperation of the private sector The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital programs. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA). The World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has 189 member countries, while the International Development Association (IDA) has 173 members. Each member state of IBRD should be also a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and only members of IBRD are allowed to join other institutions within the Bank (such as IDA). The World Bank’s stated official goal is the reduction of poverty. However, according to its Articles of Agreement, all its decisions must be guided by a commitment to the promotion of foreign investment and international trade and to the facilitation of capital investment. LITERATURE REVIEW 1) Rocha, Roberto, et al. “The status of bank lending to SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa region: Results of a joint survey of the Union of Arab Bank and the World Bank.” Policy Research Working Papers, 2011, doi: 10.1596/1813-9450-5607. Among the principal constraints for SME lending is the lack of SME transparency, poor credit information from credit registries and bureaus, and weak creditor rights. If constraints can be addressed, lending can potentially reach bank targets of 21 percent. State banks still play an important role in financing SMEs in the MENA region, but they use less sophisticated risk management systems than private banks. On another hand, credit guarantee schemes are a popular form of support to SME finance in the region, and are associated with higher levels of SME lending. The paper concludes that MENA policy makers should prioritize improvements in financial infrastructure, including greater coverage and depth of credit bureaus, improvements in the collateral regime (especially for movable assets), and increased competition between banks and also non-banks. Weaknesses in insolvency regimes and credit reporting systems should also be alleviated. Direct policy interventions through public banks, guarantee schemes, lower reserve requirements and subsidized lending and other measures have played a role in compensating for MENA’s weak financial infrastructure, but more sustainable structural solutions are needed. 2) “The World Bank in the Gulf Cooperation Council” http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/gcc The World Bank has been a strong partner to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries for over 40 years. Governments in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have mobilized the Bank’s global knowledge and development experience through technical assistance programs. The World Bank and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been strong partners for over five decades. Governments in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have benefited from the Bank’s global knowledge and development experience through technical assistance programs offered by the World Bank on a reimbursable advisory services (RAS) basis. Activities in the Gulf encompass key areas in which the World Bank has extensive global expertise. Currently, the largest programs cover long-term visioning and development planning, diversification, economic management, financial sector reforms, trade and competitiveness, private sector development, governance, transport, energy, urban planning, land management, social protection and labor, health, and education. The GCC Department is managed through three offices: a regional office in Riyadh headed by a Country Director, a country office in Kuwait, and a program unit at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 3) “The economic and political determinants of IMF and world bank lending in the Middle East and North Africa” Harrigan, Jane, et al. “The economic and political determinants of IMF and world bank lending in the Middle East and North Africa.” World Development, vol. 34, no. 2, 2006, pp. 247–270.  This paper assesses the economic and political determinants of IMF and World Bank program loans to the Middle East and North Africa. First we assess what is already known about the geo-political influences on aid flows to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the potential for this to operate via the IMF and World Bank. From this we conclude that there is scope for IMF and World Bank lending in the region to respond to the political interests of their major shareholders, particularly the United States. We support these arguments with both a qualitative and a quantitative analysis of the determinants of World Bank and IMF program lending to the region, focusing on both economic need in the MENA countries and the politics of donor interest before concluding.