Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan Economies Set to Grow at 3.6 per cent in 2009: IMF

DIFC Breakfast Briefing Discusses Implications of Recent Global Economic Developments on the Outlook for the Region

The economies of the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) are set to grow at 3.6 per cent in 2009 compared to about 5.9 percent in 2008, according to a senior official of the IMF.

Speaking today at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), at a Breakfast Briefing titled ‘Implications of Global Developments on the Economic Outlook for MENA, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Masood Ahmed, Director of IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said growth is expected to pick up in 2010, as the global recovery gets underway.

The extent of the slowdown would depend on the fiscal response in the region’s oil-exporting countries, and on how deep the recession would be in the US, Europe and other countries, Ahmed said. “As long as oil exporters in the region maintain their spending and investment plans, the impact of the global slowdown on their own growth, and on the prospects for the region, will be partly cushioned,” he added.

The IMF presentation was mainly focused on the implications of the dramatic changes in oil prices and the worsening of the global economic outlook on the region. In his presentation, Masood Ahmed also spoke about the risks facing the economies of the region in 2009.

Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist of the DIFC Authority said: “Economies in the Middle East and North Africa have suffered from financial contagion effects and from the impact of the global growth slowdown on oil prices. However, the policy response of the authorities, the cushion of accumulated international reserves and sustained government investment spending has added to the resilience of the economies to the global economic and financial crisis. Increased economic diversification and moves towards greater economic and financial integration in the GCC and growing linkages within MENA will generate a market with a vast scope for growth. The region continues to have strong macroeconomic fundamentals, with positive demographics to support its attractive investment prospects. The Breakfast briefing was also an opportunity to discuss some of the measures governments in the region should take to mitigate the effects of the slowdown in the global economy.”  

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion and a Q&A session on the outlook for the region involving other senior economists and analysts from the region. The panel discussion was chaired by Dr. Nasser Al Saidi.

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