"Economists have come to acknowledge that finance matters for development in more ways than had been previously recognized. Changes in the financial services industry are providing immense possibilities for economic development. This paper introduces a framework to help understand the changes occurring in the financial landscape. At the same time it attempts to lay out the opportunities as well as the challenges that the Middle East and Northern Africa region face in light of these changes. The framework views financial development as a two-way, continuous and dynamic interaction between, on the one hand, three "driving forces" shaping the industry (financial liberalization, technological changes and market innovation), and on the other hand four stylized dimensions of financial services (disintermediation, institutionalization, modernization and globalization). This paper provides a strategic perspective on the opportunities, and challenges the profound changes in the financial industry bring to the MENA region, its policy makers and market participants"-- Economic Research Forum for the Arab Countries, Iran and Turkey web site.