Series editors: Robert Beschel (World Bank), Khalid Al-Yahya and Mhamed Biygautane (Dubai School of Government)
The MENA Case Studies on Governance and Public Management are a collaborative engagement between the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Vice Presidency and the Dubai School of Government regarding governance and public management in the MENA region.
The following cases are intended to form the initial nucleus of an expanding number of case studies on governance and public sector reform in the Middle East and North Africa. They provide a range of experience underscoring the issues and challenges confronting senior public sector managers seeking to implement various types of reforms. Substantively, they cover a spectrum of issues ranging from civil service reform and public financial management to policy coordination, private sector development, anticorruption, decentralization and improved service delivery. Geographically, they cover ten different countries from the Maghreb and the Mashriq. The intended audience is policy makers and government officials, academics and schools of public administration, and members of civil society interested in both the substance and process of governance reform in the MENA region. Agreement has been reached around an initial core of eleven cases outlined below:
1. The Case of the Cairo One-Stop Shop
Author: Andrew H. W. Stone
This case study discusses the roles of individuals and the different processes and steps involved in creating the "One Stop Shop" initiative and how they all contributed to its success. Egypt was ranked 141 in the latest World Bank's Doing Business report in terms of ease of establishing companies. This is mainly due to the complex process of starting business in Egypt. It requires visits to at least 25 ministerial departments, takes more than 34 days and costs an average of 105% of the average per capita income. To overcome these problems, the Egyptian government recently established the so called “One Stop Shop” to facilitate the processes and transactions that investors need go through before they can get the license to commence their business. The newly created “One Stop Shop” gathers representatives from 32 ministries and government agencies in one place to issue all the necessary licenses and approvals. This significantly reduced the processing time of business licenses from 34 days to only 3 days.
2. Lebanon: Enhancing Meritocratic Recruitment Within the Senior Civil Service
Author: Simonida Subotic
"Every civil service seeks to enshrine meritocracy in recruitment and promotion. Yet throughout MENA and beyond, the reality is often different, as considerations of patronage, tribal and political affiliation, and wasta can subvert and undermine efforts to attract the best and brightest into key positions throughout the public sector. The Government of Lebanon recently sought to implement a major set of reforms to allow it to restructure its recruitment practices and bring in top talent for important senior positions within the civil service. The exercise was ultimately not successful for a variety of reasons. But it remains an instructive one, and the issue continues to occupy a prominent place in the reform agenda of Lebanon and other regional countries."
3. Advancing e-Government in Dubai
Authors: Okan Geray and Fadi Salem
The E-government initiative of Dubai government is considered one of the most successful initiatives in the Middle East. It aims to provide innovative governmental services to both the community and the private sector of Dubai. The specific objectives of Dubai E-Government initiative, which was launched in 2000, are to facilitate the lives of individuals and companies who deal with the government and contribute to establishing Dubai's position as a global hub for business. Over more than ten years, the E-Government initiative played a crucial and supporting role in achieving Dubai’s vision of providing public services, making legislations and regulations through the use of information and communication technology. This study traces back the development of E-Government initiative since its inception until the stage of maturity and experience that it enjoys now. The case sheds light on the initiative and puts it in the general long-term vision of Dubai. It is based on preliminary data as well as interviews with key stakeholders that were involved in the different stages of the development of the initiative. This study also provides a thorough analysis of the methods of implementation, the results that have been reached, challenges encountered and lessons learned from the case.
4. Government-led innovation in Service Delivery: Modernizing the Bill Payment and Revenue Collection (SADAD) in Saudi Arabia
Author: Khalid Al Yahya
This case examines the innovative SADAD system adopted by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency to fix the failing and fragmented cash-based bill payment and collection system in Saudi Arabia. Prior to SADAD, the fragmented payment and collection situation was agonizing to government, consumers, and private sector firms alike. Authorities estimated that government was losing 10-15% in revenues annually due to human error, fraud, and delays associated with the manual, cash-based system. Consumers of basic services such as utilities and telephone experienced long lines at crowded banks and the service interruptions that often resulted from banks delaying payments to government and private sector billers. Banks incurred high transaction costs as they tried to manage the high volume of cash coming in through their branches from the thousands of customers queuing to pay their bills daily. The case describes the process of establishing SADAD, the difficulties associated with its implementation especially convincing government and private sector billers to change their old ways of doing business, SADAD’s impact on streamlining bill payment transactions, and the reasons for the government decision to lead this reform effort.
5. Civil Service Rightsizing in Morocco
Authors: Khalid El-Massnaoui and Mhamed Biygautane
Throughout the MENA region, the size and affordability of the public sector are often major concerns, and the region is home to the largest public sectors in the world. In recognition of this problem, the Government of Morocco recently embarked upon a voluntary retirement program that resulted in the early retirement of 34,000 civil servants. This case looks at how this exercise was structured, what the relative costs and benefits have been, and how the process was managed politically.
6. At the Apex: Reforming Cabinet Structures in Jordan
Author: Nithya Habhab
In 2004, the Government of Jordan embarked upon a major effort to improve the functioning of its central mechanisms for policy formulation and coordination (including Cabinet and the Office of Prime Minister), with the goal of reducing the number of routine transactions flowing up to Cabinet and allowing senior decision makers to focus upon broader issues of policy and strategy. Decisions were also taken to upgrade the profile of government reform efforts by folding the former Ministry of Administrative Development under the Prime Minister’s Office. Progress was made in a number of areas, but several others remain problematic. This case traces the history of this reform effort, placing it against the backdrop if Jordan’s history of frequent Cabinet changes.
7. Reforming Customs Administration in Lebanon
This case draws upon an earlier paper by Salim Balaa and Riad Al-Khouri on Lebanon’s successful experience with customs reform, which targeted trade liberalization, increased operational transparency and improved service delivery. The reforms were able to lead to greater availability and improved quality of trade data. They also reduced delays in clearing goods, and contributed to better overall management of the customs agency. An environment whereby all major stakeholder interests converged in reforming customs helped make the transition less painful than example elsewhere in the region.
8. Reforms to Public Financial Management in Palestine
Author: Nithya Nagarajan
This case analyzes the complex and controversial financial reforms carried out by the former Minister of Finance in the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad. During his time in Office, Mr. Fayyad succeeded in carrying out the implementation of a series of important reforms that have developed the efficiency of the financial affairs, transparency, accountability and management style of the Palestinian Authority. However, Mr. Fayyad was not able to complete the reforms he had initiated which exposed him to severe criticism inside and outside of the country. This case traces the stages of these financial reforms and discusses their outcomes and impacts on the bureaucratic structure of the government.
9. Reforming Tax and Customs in Egypt
Author: Nithya Nagarajan
Beginning in 2004, Egypt was able to implement some highly successful tax reforms under the leadership of its dynamic Minister of Finance, Youssef Bourtros-Ghali. The Egyptians were able to simplify and modernize tax policy and administration in a way that placed over a million new taxpayers on to the tax roles while increasing collections of income tax and sales tax and improving Egypt's ranking in the World Bank's Doing Business indicators. The case covers both the nature of these reforms in policy and administration and the way in which they were implemented, providing an intimate view of one of the most successful and impressive public sector reform efforts within the Middle East and North Africa region.