Message From The Director

I am pleased to welcome you to our website, which aims to provide you with information about the IMF-Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (CEF) and its activities.

The past year has been challenging for all countries around the globe and Arab countries, no exception, have been hard-hit by twin shocks—the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout that ensued. The impact has been severe not only for low-income countries and fragile and conflict-affected states, but also resource-rich countries in which the direct impact of the pandemic has been exacerbated by the decline in oil prices.

As Arab countries face policy challenges, the mission of the CEF has become ever more central: to fulfill the training needs of countries in the region as they address their economic challenges and, more generally, to enhance the economic and policy-making capacity in the region.

In response to the current exceptional period, the CEF will offer a comprehensive program of courses in Arabic and English as well as policy-oriented conferences, symposia and seminars. The program encompasses a broad range of courses, covering macroeconomic, fiscal, financial, monetary, statistical, and legal topics, with a focus on policies to address the impact of the pandemic. Our program covers also themes related to inclusive growth, climate change, governance, and digitalization, all of high importance for the Arab countries. As always, our courses will be conducted by IMF staff and consultants and experts from other international organizations, while offering participants an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and interaction.

While the program has traditionally been held in Kuwait, and periodically elsewhere in the region, the COVID-19 pandemic and the world-wide travel restrictions that ensued brought our in-person classroom training to a halt last year. The CEF pivoted quickly to virtual delivery of courses and webinars, and it has by now fully adjusted its training program to virtual delivery in 2021. Resuming in-person training and workshops will only be possible when conditions allow. The Center will offer and develop pre-recorded online courses in Arabic through the edX platform.

The CEF designs its well-rounded training program in close consultation with the Arab countries’ Directors of Training and the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department. Our program benefits from the collaboration with our long-time partners, including the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM), the IMF’s Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Center (METAC), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank (WB), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). We are also very grateful to the government of Kuwait and the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) for their unwavering support and funding of CEF operations.

Going forward, the Center will keep engaging closely with policymakers, public sector officials, directors of training, and course participants in deciding the activities that could best help them develop sound economic policy responses to the challenges that the region currently faces, including the Covid-19 pandemic. The CEF will organize high-level panel discussions that can inform policymakers’ efforts to develop strategies for inclusive growth as the pandemic subsides. The CEF will continue its close collaboration with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), organizing forums on themes of high relevance to the region. Special attention will be given to fragile and conflict-affected states, given their preponderance in the Arab countries.

As we enter a new chapter in the work of the CEF on capacity development, we look forward to your participation in our virtual training and to seeing you again in our in-person activities once they resume. Meanwhile, we welcome your thoughts on any aspect of the Center’s work through our website at in English and Arabic or by email at

Paulo Drummond

Director, IMF-Middle East Center for Economics and Finance


Paulo Drummond assumed his role as the Director of the IMF-Middle East Center for Economics and Finance in April 2021. Before that, Paulo was a Division Chief in the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development (2020-2021). Previously, he was the Director for the French speaking IMF-Central Regional Technical Assistance in Africa (2016-2020). Prior to that, and during his long IMF career, Paulo was deputy chief of the division in charge of global technical assistance coordination in the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department (2015–16); deputy division chief in the IMF’s African Department (2009–15), and worked as an economist and senior economist in the IMF’s European Department (2000–2009). Paulo also served as IMF Resident Representative in Macedonia (1997–2000). His pre-IMF experience includes working at the private sector as an economic analyst for the holding company of the Bunge & Born group; as auditor for Coopers & Lybrand; and in banking with the Banco do Estado de Sao Paulo. Paulo, a national of Brazil, holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.