Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
international economics; trade policy; trade and finance; trade and labor market; gravity models; computable general equilibrium models
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated January 31, 2023
Chahir Zaki is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University (Egypt) and a part-time Economist at the Economic Research Forum (Egypt). He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Paris School of Economics (France). He has been also working as a consultant for the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Trade Centre and the CEPII (Centre des Etudes Prospectives et d’Informations Internationales). His fields of specialization are mainly international economics, trade policy issues, trade and finance, trade and labor market issues, gravity models and computable general equilibrium models. Regionally, his main research is on Egypt and MENA countries. Zaki has authored several refereed research papers in high quality economic journal such as Economic Modeling, International Economic Journal, International Trade Journal, Applied Economics and the Journal of North African Studies.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
Why Don’t Banks Lend to Egypt’s Private Sector?(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Herrera, Santiago ; Hurlin, Christophe ; Zaki, ChahirBank credit to Egypt's private sector decreased over the last decade, despite a recapitalized banking system and high rates of economic growth. Recent macro-economic turmoil has reinforced the trend. This paper explains the decrease based on credit supply and demand considerations by 1) presenting stylized facts regarding the evolution of the banks' sources and fund use in 2005 to 2011, noting two different cycles of external capital flows, and 2) estimating private credit supply and demand equations using quarterly data from 1998 to 2011. The system of simultaneous equations is estimated both assuming continuous market clearing and allowing for transitory price rigidity entailing market disequilibrium. The main results are robust to the market clearing assumption. During the global financial crisis, a significant capital outflow stalled bank deposit growth, which in turn affected the private sector's credit supply. At the same time, the banking sector increased credit to the government. Both factors reduced the private sector's credit supply during the period under study. After the trough of the global crisis, capital flowed back into Egypt and deposit growth stopped being a drag on the supply side, but bank credit to the government continued to drive the decrease in the private sector's credit supply. Beginning in the final quarter of 2010, capital flows reversed in tandem with global capital markets, and in January 2011 the popular uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak added an Egypt-specific shock that accentuated the outflow. Lending capacity dragged again, accounting for 10 percent of the estimated fall in private credit. Credit to the government continued to drain resources, accounting for 70 - 80 percent of the estimated total decline. Reduced economic activity contributed around 15 percent of the total fall in credit. The relative importance of these factors contrasts with that of the preceding capital inflow period, when credit to the government accounted for 54 percent of the estimated fall, while demand factors accounted for a similar percentage.
Egypt Economic Monitoring Note, Fall 2012(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-09) Laursen, Thomas ; Badr, Karim ; Zaki, ChahirEgypt is in a precarious economic situation reflecting a difficult external environment, political uncertainty, and weak economic policies. International reserves have been declining rapidly to a low level, driven by a sizeable current account deficit and large capital outflows. Large spending increases are driving up the fiscal deficit to unsustainable levels, with high real interest rates and weak growth adding to the mounting debt burden. And weak growth is fueling social pressures. Strong financial support from Arab bilateral donors has been holding the country afloat so far, but the leaking cannot continue much longer and the authorities have been forced to seek support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other donors. Egypt is in a precarious economic situation reflecting a difficult external environment, political uncertainty, and weak economic policies. International reserves have been declining rapidly to a low level, driven by a sizeable current account deficit and large capital outflows. Large spending increases are driving up the fiscal deficit to unsustainable levels, with high real interest rates and weak growth adding to the mounting debt burden. And weak growth is fueling social pressures. Strong financial support from Arab bilateral donors has been holding the country afloat so far, but the leaking cannot continue much longer and the authorities have been forced to seek support from the IMF and other donors.
From Currency Depreciation to Trade Reform: How to Take Egyptian Exports to New Levels?(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-04) Youssef, Hoda ; Zaki, ChahirThe Arab Republic of Egypt is yet to meet its exports potential, which has been historically hampered by several domestic market distortions and multiple barriers, resulting in weak export performance and modest regional and global integration. Although the liberalization of the exchange rate in November 2016 was a necessary step to correct the exchange rate misalignment and ease the ensuing shortages in foreign currency, it has not been sufficient to guarantee a notable improvement in export performance. This paper analyzes Egypt's exports along three dimensions that are key for export performance and future growth: (i) composition and relatedness of exported products; (ii) geographic and product concentration; and (iii) relatedness to globally traded products. The analysis suggests that Egypt continues to specialize in traditional areas of comparative advantage and limited value-added or is expanding toward products for which global demand is declining. The paper uses a gravity model to predict bilateral trade flows based on the economic size, geographic distance, and other relevant characteristics that should typically contribute to facilitated trade and identify specific sectors and markets for which Egypt seems to have an untapped potential. To understand this underperformance, the paper investigates the key impediments to meeting the export potential. It explores some of the important supply and demand side factors and assesses the role of trade policy measures (tariffs and non-tariffs barriers) in impeding export growth. The analysis reveals that despite significant liberalization efforts, Egypt remains among the group of developing countries that have the highest frequency index and coverage ratio of non-tariff measures. Policy recommendations include a call to improve external competitiveness by fostering and diversifying domestic production and complement these efforts by engaging in trade facilitation reforms to remove the non-tariffs barriers to trade, notably, the administrative, technical, and sanitary barriers to trade. These are all necessary for the country to capitalize on its competitive gains from the currency depreciation and to improve the degree of Egypt's integration into global markets.
Firm Productivity and Agglomeration Economies: Evidence from Egyptian Data(Taylor and Francis, 2019-05-10) Badr, Karim ; Rizk, Reham ; Zaki, ChahirThis paper attempts to shed the light on the nexus between firms’ productivity and economies of agglomeration in Egypt. Using a large dataset of firms in 342 firms’ four-digit activities in 27 regions (62,108 firms), we introduce three measures of agglomeration which are urbanization or firm diversification measured by the number of firms by governorate, localization and specialization measured by the average productivity by governorate and sector (generating externalities and knowledge spillovers) and finally competition measured by the number of firm operating in the same governorate and the same sector. We find strong evidence for the existence of agglomeration in Egypt after controlling for firm age, location, economic activity and legal status. In the Egyptian context, productivity spillovers gained from agglomeration measures outweighed the negative effects of competition implied by congestion. The latter is chiefly due to the lack of good infrastructure. When regressions are run by firm size, location and activity, our main findings show first that micro and small firms are more likely to benefit from localization and diversification compared to medium and large firms. Service firms benefit more from high level of diversification while manufacturing firms gain more benefits from knowledge spillovers and specialization in Egypt.
The External Wealth of Arab Nations: Structure, Trends, and Policy Implications(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01) Mohieldin, Mahmoud ; Rostom, Ahmed ; Zaki, ChahirThe paper makes two main contributions. First, it analyzes net foreign assets and liabilities in selected Arab countries over the past two decades, emphasizing the relative significance of direct versus portfolio investment. It distinguishes between foreign direct investment, portfolio equity investment, official reserves, and external debt. Second, the paper examines the effects of policy variables that affect the accumulation of net foreign assets and its components, analyzing how the existence of a sovereign wealth fund, the country's exchange rate regime, and the development of its financial system affect its net foreign assets. The main findings show that the presence of a sovereign wealth fund is positively and statistically significantly associated with foreign direct investment in Arab countries. Financial development (defined as credit to the private sector as a percentage of gross domestic product) is also statistically significant across various regressions. The more financially developed a country is, the more it should invest in riskier assets, such as portfolio assets. But Arab investors are more risk averse than investors elsewhere. Oil-exporting countries tend to invest more in debt assets than in portfolio assets. For oil-importing countries, financial development is the most important determinant of foreign direct investment.
Egypt beyond the Crisis : Medium-Term Challenges for Sustained Growth( 2010-10-01) Herrera, Santiago ; Selim, Hoda ; Youssef, Hoda ; Zaki, ChahirThe paper analyzes the impact of the recent global crisis in the context of the previous two decades' growth and capital flows. Growth decomposition exercises show that Egyptian growth is driven mostly by capital accumulation. To estimate the share of labor in national income, the analysis adjusts the national accounts statistics to include the compensation of self-employed and non-paid family workers. Still, the share of labor, about 30 percent, is significantly lower than previously estimated. The authors estimate the output costs of the current crisis by comparing the output trajectory that would have prevailed without the crisis with the observed and revised gross domestic product projections for the medium term. The fall in private investment was the main driver of the output cost. Even if private investment recovers its pre-crisis levels, there is a permanent loss in gross domestic product per capita of about 2 percent with respect to the scenario without the crisis. The paper shows how the shock to investment is magnified due to the capital-intensive nature of the Egyptian economy: if the economy had the traditionally-used share of labor in income (40 percent), the output loss would have been reduced by half.