Near-term economic outlook for the Middle East and North Africa region has weakened – IMF
International Monetary Fund
Middle East and Central Asia region — November, 2013: The near-term economic outlook for the Middle East and North Africa region has weakened. In the oil-importing countries, many of which are Arab countries in transition, regional conflict, heightened political tensions, and delays in reforms continue to weigh on growth. In this context, the immediate policy priorities are to restore confidence and create jobs, make inroads into fiscal consolidation to restore debt sustainability and rebuild buffers, and embark on structural reforms needed to support private sector-led, job-intensive growth.
Most oil-exporting countries continue to enjoy steady growth in the non-oil sector, supported in part by high levels of public spending. Although headline growth has declined because of domestic oil supply disruptions and lower global demand, a recovery in oil production is expected to lift growth next year. Increased vulnerability to a sustained decline in oil prices and intergenerational equity considerations underscore the need for countries to strengthen their fiscal buffers. Key medium-term challenges remain economic diversification and faster private-sector job-creation for nationals.
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