Mideast Issues High on IMF Agenda

  • Arab countries in transition face economic and social pressures amidst weak domestic and external environment
  • Pressing stabilization policies and structural reforms face political realities
  • IMF committed to help transition countries, but international support is also needed
  • The meetings brought together ministers and top officials as well as representatives of civil society, media, academia, and the private sector from all over the world to discuss the critical issues facing the world economy, with Middle East issues high on the agenda. Along with discussions with country delegations, IMF officials participated in regional and global forums with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

    Discussions, led by IMF chief Christine Lagarde, IMF Deputy Managing Director Nemat Shafik, and Middle East Department head Masood Ahmed, covered a broad range of topics, including key challenges, the economic outlook, the reform agenda, and the IMF’s role in the region.

    Key challenges

    Arab countries in transition continue to face high political uncertainty and social pressures. Fiscal and reserves buffers have diminished sharply, underscoring the urgent need to maintain macroeconomic stability in an environment of sluggish global growth, high commodity prices, and still impaired domestic confidence.

    IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde met with ministers of finance and central bank governors to discuss these pressing issues, listening to their perspectives and exploring options for moving ahead. An IMF report, delivered at the Deauville Partnership Ministerial Meeting, took aim at the economic challenges that transition countries are currently facing. The report also emphasized the need for a resolute policy action and support from the international community.

    The IMF report noted that it will be equally important for policymakers to move quickly on designing and implementing effective structural reforms to build dynamic and inclusive economies that generate the vast number of jobs needed.

    “Promoting private-sector growth and international trade, as well as attracting foreign direct investment inflows, will be key components of success,” said the report, adding that financial assistance and technical expertise from external partners, including Transition Fund projects, can make a big difference in this endeavor.

    Economic outlook

    The weak domestic and external environment will continue to pose challenges for MENA oil importers during...

    To continue reading

    Request your trial