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Seeking Fairness in the Middle East and North Africa: How Taxation Can Help

By | September 8th, 2015|Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Middle East, Reform, عربي|

Pritha MitraBy Pritha Mitra

(Versions in Français and عربي)

Aspirations for greater fairness were at the core of the protests that triggered the Arab Spring almost five years ago—and remain largely unfulfilled today. In our new paper, we show that tax reform can go a long way towards meeting those aspirations.

Taxation is a critical interface between the state and citizens. How much revenue is raised, how the tax burden is distributed, and how taxation is implemented can all powerfully affect both the reality and the perception of economic opportunities—and the degree of trust in government.

Continue reading “Seeking Fairness in the Middle East and North Africa: How Taxation Can Help” »

Support the People, Not Energy in the Middle East and North Africa

By | March 27th, 2013|Emerging Markets, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Investment, Middle East, Politics, عربي|

Masood AhmedBy Masood Ahmed

(Versions in عربي, 中文, Français, 日本語Русский, and Español)

Of all the regions in the world, the Middle East and North Africa region stands out as the one that relies the most on generalized energy subsidies. In energy-rich countries, governments provide subsidies to their populations as a way of sharing the natural resource wealth. In the region’s energy-importing countries, governments use subsidies to offer people some relief from high commodity prices, especially since social safety nets are often weak.

The question is: does this well-intended social protection policy represent the most efficient way to channel aid to the most vulnerable? The answer is no!

Continue reading “Support the People, Not Energy in the Middle East and North Africa” »

Middle East and North Africa Face Historic Crossroads

By | November 27th, 2012|Africa, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Employment, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Globalization, growth, IMF, Inequality, Investment, Middle East, Politics, Public debt, عربي|

If there is one fact I think sums up the problems of the Middle East and North Africa, it is that the non-oil exports of the whole region, are $365 billion, about the same as the exports of Belgium, a country of 11 million people, compared with the 400 million people who make up the Arab world. This is a crucial indicator of the nature and size of the structural adjustment problem the Arab countries in transition face.

Shifting Sands

By | November 30th, 2017|Africa, developing countries, Economic outlook, Economic research, Gender issues, Global Governance, Government, growth, inclusive growth, infrastructure, International Monetary Fund, Investment, jobs, labor force, labor markets, Low-income countries, Middle East, Migration, Politics, productivity, refugees, technology, Transition, unemployment, youth|

By IMFBlog

November 30,2017

This issue of F&D focuses on the Middle East and North Africa. We take stock of the region’s rapid transformation since the uprisings of 2011—a period that raised the hopes of millions for a better future, and caused despair for millions of others.

The iron lid that had kept Arab societies artificially stable was lifted by the uprisings, writes Marwan Muasher of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace. Now, the only path to stability and prosperity is through building better institutions, sharing power, and implementing policies that will foster inclusive growth—a process that will require a new social contract between governments and society. Continue reading “Shifting Sands” »

Stepping up the Fight Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

By | July 26th, 2017|banking, correspondent banking, corruption, developing countries, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial markets, financial policy, Financial regulation, Financing, Government, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Latin America, Low-income countries, Politics, Reform, taxation|

By Christine Lagarde

July 26, 2017

Versions in ربي (Arabic),  中文 (Chinese), Français (French), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

Money laundering and terrorist financing threaten economic stability. International cooperation is vital in the fight against misuse of the financial system (photo: CraigRJD/iStock by Getty Images)


Corrupt officials, tax cheats, and the financial backers of terrorism have one thing in common: they often exploit vulnerabilities in financial systems to facilitate their crimes.

Money laundering and terrorist financing can threaten a country’s economic and financial stability while funding violent and illegal acts. That is why many governments have stepped up the fight against such practices, helped by international institutions such as the IMF.

Continue reading “Stepping up the Fight Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing” »

The Calculus of Conflict in the Middle East

By | September 16th, 2016|Economic research, International Monetary Fund, Migration, Uncategorized|

Lagarde.2015MDPORTRAIT4_114x128By Christine Lagarde

Versions in: عربي (Arabic), 中文 (Chinese), Français (French), 日本語(Japanese), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

As world leaders head to New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly, there is still no end to the heart-breaking images of war-torn cities in the Middle East and North Africa, and of a massive exodus of people looking for sanctuary and opportunities to sustain a livelihood.

Continue reading “The Calculus of Conflict in the Middle East” »

The Price of Oil and the Price of Carbon

By | December 2nd, 2015|Economic research, growth, International Monetary Fund, Reform|

By Rabah Arezki and Maurice Obstfeld

(Versions in عربي中文Français日本語,  Русский, and Español)

“The human influence on the climate system is clear and is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system.”Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report

Fossil fuel prices are likely to stay “low for long.” Notwithstanding important recent progress in developing renewable fuel sources, low fossil fuel prices could discourage further innovation in and adoption of cleaner energy technologies. The result would be higher emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Policymakers should not allow low energy prices to derail the clean energy transition. Action to restore appropriate price incentives, notably through corrective carbon pricing, is urgently needed to lower the risk of irreversible and potentially devastating effects of climate change. That approach also offers fiscal benefits.

Continue reading “The Price of Oil and the Price of Carbon” »

Growth’s Secret Weapon: The Poor and the Middle Class

By | June 15th, 2015|Advanced Economies, Africa, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Middle East, Reform|

By Era Dabla-Norris, Kalpana Kochhar, and Evridiki Tsounta

(Versions in  Español中文 日本語عربي,and Русский)

The gap between the rich and the poor is at its widest in decades in advanced countries, and inequality is also rising in major emerging markets (Chart 1).  It is becoming increasingly clear that these developments have profound economic implications.

SPR Inequality SDN.chart 1rev

Continue reading “Growth’s Secret Weapon: The Poor and the Middle Class” »

Learning to Live with Cheaper Oil in the Middle East

By | January 22nd, 2015|Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Global Governance, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Middle East, Politics, Uncategorized, عربي|

masood-ahmedBy Masood Ahmed

(Version in عربي)

The steep decline in global oil prices, by 55 percent since last September, has changed the economic dynamics of oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa. Our update of the Regional Economic Outlook, released yesterday, shows that these countries are now faced with large export and government revenue losses, which are expected to reach about $300 billion (21 percent of GDP) in the Gulf Cooperation Council and about $90 billion (10 percent of GDP) in other oil-exporting countries.

Where prices will eventually settle is, of course, uncertain, making it hard for policymakers to gauge how much of the bane is temporary in nature and what share of it they should expect to last.

Continue reading “Learning to Live with Cheaper Oil in the Middle East” »

Building the Future: Jobs, Growth, and Fairness in the Arab World

By | May 20th, 2014|Global Governance, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Middle East, Transition, Uncategorized, unemployment, عربي|


2014MDNEW_04
By Christine Lagarde

(Version in عربي and Français)

Returning from Amman, where we just wrapped up a conference on the future of the Arab countries in transition, I am truly energized by the optimistic spirit that I encountered. Following on the heels of my visit to Morocco, it was an extraordinary couple of days of better understanding the people and the challenges they confront in this fascinating region.

Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director, speaks to Syrian refugee woman during visit to Syrian al-Za'atari refugee camp in Mafraq city

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks to Syrian refugee women at al-Za'atari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan. Photo: Pool/Ali Jarekjiali Jarekji/AFP/Getty Images

I did not start my visit to Jordan in a conference room, but at the Za’atari refugee camp. It is now home—hopefully a temporary one—to over 100,000 Syrians who fled the bloody conflict in their country. I saw firsthand how these refugees cope under extraordinarily difficult circumstances—and how Jordan, the region, and the international
community are coming together. It is heartening to see how Jordanian hospitality and determined support from UN agencies and many other aid organizations are preventing a bad situation from becoming even worse. But more help is direly needed. We at the IMF are doing our own part, by flexibly supporting Jordan with a $2.1 billion loan. Continue reading “Building the Future: Jobs, Growth, and Fairness in the Arab World” »

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