Seminars, Webinars, & High-level Events
Joint IMF - CEF - MCD Webinar on IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and North Africa
December 6th, 2022
The IMF-Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (IMF-CEF) and the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department (MCD) co-organized a webinar on December 6, 2022, to discuss the recent IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook (REO) report for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Mr. Paulo Drummond, CEF Director, gave opening and closing remarks, and Mr. Khaled Abdel-Kader, CEF Deputy Director, moderated the event. The panelists were Mr. Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu and Ms. Jeta Menkulasi, both Senior Economists in the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department.
Mr. Garcia-Verdu noted that the region’s oil exporters, emerging market and middle-income economies, and low-income countries face diverse prospects. He highlighted that the region is facing exceptional uncertainties and downside risks, including persistently high commodity prices and broadening inflation, tighter-than-expected financial conditions and related fiscal challenges, and repercussions from a possible global recession. He stressed that making a dent on inflation, protecting the vulnerable groups, and ensuring fiscal sustainability are paramount. He also highlighted the current IMF’s efforts in supporting countries in the region.
Ms. Menkulasi emphasized that the region has faced recurring global commodity cycles with past commodity price surges resulting in large and persistent fiscal expansions and a reallocation of spending towards wages and subsides at the cost of lower public investment. She pointed out that the increase in subsidies was stronger for countries with weak social safety nets and higher inequality. While countries in the current commodity price surge have activated subsidies at a smaller scale than past episodes, the fiscal outlook is surrounded by substantial risks. Ms. Menkulasi then delved into policy lessons and implications for the future on how past unsustainable cycle of fiscal interventions necessitates a re-thinking of fiscal policy in the face of commodity price cycles.
The floor then opened for discussion with a diverse audience from the region, including participants from the public sector, the banking and business community, academia, as well as representatives from the diplomatic corps, offices of international and regional organizations in the region, civil society, and the media.
In closing, Mr. Drummond thanked MCD for joining CEF in co-organizing this timely event. He also thanked the speakers and members of the audience for the illuminating and lively discussions.
For more details about the webinar, please refer to the following links: