IMF Fall 2018 Regional Economic Outlook Report calls for reforms to build resilience and promote private investment and economic diversification across Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan

Tuesday 13 November 2018
Dubai - MENA Herald:

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region (MEASA), today hosted the launch of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Fall 2018 Regional Economic Outlook (REO) report for the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) region.

The Report highlights economic growth in the region, with real GDP growth predicted to reach 2.7 percent across the MENAP region and 3.0 percent in the GCC in 2019. In the near term, higher oil prices and a slower pace of fiscal consolidation are supporting a positive outlook for most oil exporting countries.

The Report recommends that MENAP countries prioritise growth-enhancing and high-quality investment in infrastructure and human capital, while sustaining well-targeted social spending to promote equity and opportunities for all.

In addition, the Report highlights the importance of promoting private sector-led growth by strengthening governance and accountability,  improving education, enhancing labour market flexibility in the GCC, and deepening financial markets.

Commenting on the Report’s findings, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, said: “The region’s economic outlook continues to point to accelerating near-term growth, and the findings of the latest report show that challenging times offer the greatest opportunities. DIFC also remains committed to being a hub for financial services talent and providing the region’s best infrastructure for our clients – two areas that are highlighted as a priority in the latest IMF Report. Through our strategic partnership with the IMF, we unlock significant insights into economic trends in MEASA and beyond that allow us to remain ahead of emerging trends and challenges, and help facilitate long-term sustainable growth across this important market.”

Jihad Azour, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said: The changing global economic environment is bringing new challenges for the region. Near-term prospects for oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa region have improved modestly on the back of higher oil prices and a slower pace of fiscal consolidation. Growth in oil importers is uneven, with rising oil prices adding to fiscal pressures in many countries. Risks from escalating global trade tensions, further tightening of financial conditions, the oil price trajectory, and geopolitical developments cloud the outlook. Fiscal and structural reforms to increase resilience and promote private sector growth need to be sustained and even accelerated if the region is to become a place where all citizens have the equal opportunity to build a more prosperous future. The IMF stands ready to assist in this journey through policy advice as well as technical and financial assistance.”                 

The twice-yearly IMF Regional Economic Outlook report details trends and developments across countries of the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan (MENAP) and the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). The Report’s sectoral indicators are widely used as a benchmark for future economic projections and set the tone for growth, trade and investment.

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