Arab Business Legislative Frameworks - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


Arab Business Legislative Frameworks

Country: People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Iraq, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, State of Kuwait, Lebanese Republic, State of Libya, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Kingdom of Morocco, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Federal Republic of Somalia, State of Palestine, Republic of Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Republic of Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Republic of Yemen, Arab Republic of Egypt

Publication Type: Reports & studies

Cluster: Shared Economic Prosperity

Focus Area: Macroeconomics, Governance & enabling environment

Initiatives: Improving competition and protecting consumers, Enhancing integrated national development planning

Keywords: Competition, Consumer protection, Foreign direct investment, Arab countries, Economic development, Governance

Arab Business Legislative Frameworks

February 2022

The growing interest in legal and institutional reforms, business facilitation and better governance in the Arab region has led Governments, donors and development agencies to increasingly focus their attention on improving the regulatory framework for doing business, and ensuring a fair balance between the rights and obligations of various social players. Legal reform, however, is not merely about enacting legislation but also ensuring that such legislation is well understood, applied and integrated into the overall legal framework, and is consistent with the specific context of each Arab country. Various stakeholders in the Arab region do not have adequate access to laws on competition, anti-corruption, foreign direct investment (FDI) and consumer protection. Small firms, activists, political reformists, and researchers face challenges in accessing up-to-date legislation related to public policy. The absence of a unified consolidated and accessible repository of legislation in the region has negative knock-on effects on transparency, accountability, and the rule of law.

In addition to assessing the legislative climate using common standards derived from international best practices, the present study provides a repository of existing legislation in the Arab region. It offers a basic assessment of the current business regulatory climate in the region, by evaluating legislation related to competition, FDI, anti-corruption and consumer protection. It also provides a gap analysis assessment of the current legislative, regulatory, institutional and enforcement mechanisms and recommends actions that can bridge those gaps. Moreover, the study provides ESCWA member States with a foundation for a flexible assessment model on business legislative frameworks that can be regularly updated, to establish more coherent region-wide indicators on business legislation.


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