Economic Freedom of the Arab World Network Meeting 2006

The first Economic Freedom of the Arab World Meeting was held on December 6-7 in Beirut, Lebanon. The meeting was hosted by the IRF, in partnership with The Fraser Institute, MENA-OECD Investment Programme and Friedrich Naumann Foundation's office in Jordan.

The meeting attracted about 50 participants from the Middle East and the rest of the world. The conference focused on improvement of economic policy in the Arab World as well as reconstruction in Lebanon. Issues such as economic freedom, investment in the Middle East (including Islamic equity investment in the region), public-private partnerships in infrastructure financing, and access to credit and enterprise financing facilities were covered at the conference.

We would like to thank our co-hosts -The Fraser Institute, Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Jordan, and MENA-OECD Investment Programme--without whom this conference would not be possible.

We are immensely grateful to those conference participants who, despite the situation in Beirut at the time of the meeting, decided to attend the meeting and participate in this first regional gathering.

Conference participants listen to one of the opening presentations.
Representatives from Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, whose governments received awards in different economic freedom categories, gather for a group photo at the Economic Freedom of the Arab World Award ceremony.
Dr. Michael Walker, President, Fraser Institute Foundation and Senior Fellow at The Fraser Institute, Canada, presents an Omani representative with an Economic Freedom Award.
Panel on Access to Credit and Enterprise Financing Facilities takes questions from the conference participants. From left to right: Ms. Dolly Hatem (Head of Small Business Loans & Kafalat Units at Byblos Bank Sal, Lebanon), Dr. Khater Abi Habib (Chairman Kafalat Corporation, Lebanon), Mr. Nassib Ghobril (Head of Research, Byblos Bank Group, Lebanon), and Dr. Wissam Fahed (Ministry of Finance, Lebanon).