Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s total GDP growth is expected to surge to 2.9 percent this year, surpassing figures from 2023.
Speaking on the sidelines of the pre-summit day of the World Government Summit (WGS) 2024’s Eighth Arab Fiscal Forum, Georgieva underscored the significance of the MENA region in the ever-evolving global economic landscape. Georgieva also highlighted the enduring partnership between the MENA region and the IMF. She emphasized the pivotal role the region plays in shaping future economies.
Challenges and opportunities
Despite uncertainties, Georgieva noted that the global economy has displayed surprising resilience. Growth surpassed expectations in 2023 and inflation rates are expected to decline in 2024. However, she cautioned against premature declarations of victory, citing various challenges facing economies worldwide.
Georgieva stated that the MENA region faces its set of obstacles, including short-term cuts in oil production, regional tensions, and tight monetary policies. Among exporters, slow growth excluding the hydrocarbon sector is another factor that poses challenges to the region’s economy. Moreover, declining oil demand will become an increasing challenge over the medium term. Meanwhile, net energy importers are grappling with high debt and borrowing needs and limited access to external financing.
Shaping future economies
Amidst these challenges, Georgieva urged the MENA region to seize the opportunity to build a more stable future. She emphasized the importance of meeting reconstruction needs and strengthening resilience. Moreover, she highlighted the importance of creating opportunities to cater to growing populations’ demands.
Reflecting on the economic impact of regional tensions, Georgieva highlighted rising freight costs and reduced Red Sea transit volumes which further exacerbate the MENA region’s economic challenges. Georgieva also warned that further escalation of conflicts could compound the economic harm, hindering economies still recovering from previous shocks.
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