Radwan, Ismail

Europe and Central Asia
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Public Sector Management, Private Sector Development
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Europe and Central Asia
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Ismail Radwan is a lead public sector specialist in the World Bank. He has been based in Bucharest since July 2015. He currently leads the World Bank financed Revenue Administration Modernization Project (RAMP) as well as the Bank’s support to establish a strategy unit at the center of government. During 2012-2015 Radwan was the Country Program Coordinator for Central Europe and the Baltic Countries in the World Bank's European and Central Asia department, based in Washington D.C. During that time, he lead the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) which programs the World Bank Group’s engagement with Romania during the period 2014-2018. Prior to taking up this assignment in 2012 he was based in Nigeria where he led the Bank’s work in innovation, finance and private sector development. Between 2005-2008 he was based in Colombo, Sri Lanka where he managed a number of high profile projects for the Bank including the e-Sri Lanka initiative.  Radwan studied economics and politics at Oxford University and then received a masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He has lived and worked in more than thirty countries. Prior to joining the World Bank in 2000, Radwan was a principal consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers London in the economics and strategy department. Radwan is originally from Cairo Egypt and speaks English, Arabic and French.

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    Towards a National Jobs Strategy in Kuwait
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022) Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan ; Koettl, Johannes ; Radwan, Ismail ; Farole, Thomas ; Sanchez-Reaza, Javier ; Chartouni, Carole ; Alaref, Jumana Jamal Subhi ; Rivera, Nayib ; Sundararaman, Venkatesh ; Afif, Zeina ; Dexter, Gharam Alkastalani ; Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan
    This report is one of the main deliverables outlined in the legal arrangement of September 10, 2019, between the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GS-SCPD) in Kuwait and the World Bank. A separate overview report is also available. The social contract in Kuwait is at risk. Kuwaiti citizens are used to the state providing public sector jobs, free education, free healthcare, and subsidized fuel to all citizens. These benefits have been bought and paid for using Kuwait’s oil revenues, however, the sustainability of the social contract has been questioned by three mutually reinforcing challenges. First, oil demand is projected to steadily decline the next few decades. This decline is partly the result of changing consumer preferences away from carbon-based fuel sources, and partly the result of increasingly cost-effective alternative energy sources becoming available. Second, with mounting fiscal deficits, the size of the wage bill for the government is a growing concern. Third, the needs in the labor market will continue to grow as Kuwait’s population is young and growing. Central to these structural challenges are challenges to Kuwait’s labor market. A growing number of young Kuwaitis are entering the labor market with high expectations of well-paid, secure, public sector jobs. In the private sector, employers are dependent on low-cost and largely unskilled foreign workers. The 2019 COVID-19 global pandemic, which has led to an oil price crisis and a global economic slowdown, has intensified the debate surrounding jobs challenges in Kuwait. These jobs challenges need to be addressed to ensure the sustainability of the economic growth model and avoid major social disruption. The government has asked The World Bank for assistance to formulate a National Jobs Strategy to help confront these challenges, based on evidence and best practices. Reforms are recommended in four areas, or pillars: (i) make the public sector more sustainable, (ii) improve human capital, (iii) support private sector growth, and (iv) build a social protection system. In addition, the jobs strategy covers two cross-cutting themes: behavioral economics, and monitoring and evaluation, also embedded in the four pillars. This introduction briefly explains the critical challenges facing Kuwait that require substantial changes in policy. The subsequent sections analyze the major issues of these four topics, with recommendations for policy change to improve sustainability and enhance incomes.