Seminars, Webinars, & High-level Events

Joint IMF-CEF-AFESD Seminar on Navigating Economic Challenges in the MENA Region: A conversation with Dr. Jihad Azour

January 9th, 2024



Tuesday January 9, 2024

The IMF-Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (CEF) in Kuwait co-organized, with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), a high-level event on Navigating Economic Challenges in the MENA Region on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. Mr. Paulo Drummond, Director of the CEF, said the objective of the event was to stimulate an open debate on the evolving economic challenges and policy tradeoffs faced by policymakers in the Middle East and North Africa region. Keynote Speaker Jihad Azour, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, presented the economic outlook for the MENA region to a hybrid audience that included representatives from the public and private sectors, civil society, international organizations, the press, and the diplomatic community. The event was moderated by Mr. Merza Hasan, AFESD’s senior advisor.



Mr. Azour, presented the outlook, risks for the MENA region and policy priorities to build resilience and foster sustainable and inclusive growth.

Mr. Azour highlighted that across the MENA region, the combined effects of global headwinds, domestic challenges, and geopolitical risks are weighing on economic momentum. He noted that the conflict in Gaza and Israel—which is causing immense human suffering—will have consequences for the broader region and add to the already high outlook uncertainty. Where the economic impact of the conflict is acute or risks are elevated, prudent crisis management and precautionary policies will be critical in the near term. MENA countries, especially those with already diminishing policy space and significant structural challenges, should not lose sight of the important reform and resilience agenda.

“Undoubtedly, this crisis will reshape the region’s future. This crisis could inaugurate an era of high uncertainty for many countries if not properly addressed and absent a lasting ceasefire, even if the conflict remains contained, Mr. Azour said.

He underlined the strong partnership between the IMF and the Arab countries and highlighted the IMF’s continued efforts to help countries mitigate the impact of adverse shocks and spillovers. He also stressed that the IMF stands ready to step up needed support through policy advice, technical assistance, and financing to countries in the region.




For more details about the seminar, please refer to the following links:

Webinar’s Recording

PPT Presentation