On The Current Links Capital Markets And Investment In Mena Countries
This paper considers the current status of some Middle Eastern markets (Arab countries excluding the Gulf countries). These markets have matured significantly over the last six years, and this helped the concurrent strong economic and investment growth. Evidence gathered here indicates the markets have become a minor source of corporate investment, mobilising both domestic and foreign investors. It allowed them to capture both part of the surge in intra-regional capital flows, and part of rising Foreign Direct Investment. A more enhanced economic impact is constrained by their nascent nature, their volatility and illiquidity, and by what remain poor governance structures. Moreover, these Arab stock markets are still the realm of very large corporations: they have only began to address the needs of smaller entreprises, with venture capital and private equity funds at an embryonic stage. They also support a limited number of economic sectors, while governments and top income elites continue to dominate shareholding. They cannot and should not be relied upon to fulfil all the financing needs of the private sector. This message has been reinforced by the current world crisis, which ended the euphoric but unrealistic expectations that regional capital markets will continue to expand as rapidly as they did between 2002 and 2008.
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