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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. (more…)
Versions in عربي (Arabic)
May 8, 2017
Conflict has been on the rise since the early 2000s given the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Conflict leads not only to immeasurable human costs, but also to substantial economic losses with consequences that can persist for years. The tragic rise in conflict has weighed on global GDP growth in recent years, given the increasing number of countries experiencing strife, the severe effect on economic activity, and the considerable size of some of the affected economies.
While house prices around the world have rebounded over the last four years, a closer look reveals that this uptick is dependent on three things: location, location, location.
The IMF’s Global House Price Index—an average of real house prices across countries—has been rising for the past four years. However, house prices are not rising in every country. As noted in our November 2016 Quarterly Update, house price developments in the countries that make up the index fall into three clusters: gloom, bust and boom, and boom. (more…)
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.
Global growth continues, but at an increasingly disappointing pace that leaves the world economy more exposed to negative risks. Growth has been too slow for too long.
The new World Economic Outlook released today anticipates a slight acceleration in growth this year, from 3.1 to 3.2 percent, followed by 3.5 percent growth in 2017. Our projections, however, continue to be progressively less optimistic over time.
At the start of 2016, turbulence in financial markets has returned amid renewed concern about risks to global economic growth. The fundamental forces that underlay our October World Economic Outlook projections have not dissipated, and in some respects have intensified, leading us to trim our expectations for future medium-term growth of the world economy.
In the World Economic Outlook Update released today, we still, however, expect growth to pick up this year in most countries.
Despite the modesty of the reduction we see in general growth prospects and the promise of improvement in coming years, downside risks to our central scenario have intensified. In our view, a focus on these risks is the main factor driving recent developments in financial markets.
We may be in for a bumpy ride this year, especially in the emerging and developing world.
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.
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. (more…)
Oussama Kanaan, a national of Jordan, was the IMF’s Resident Representative and mission chief in Jerusalem from 2008 to 2010, then mission chief for the West Bank and Gaza, and for Syria until 2012. He previously worked on IMF-supported programs in former Soviet Union countries and East Africa, and in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs and the Strategy, Policy, and Review Departments, prior to serving as Alternate Executive Director at the IMF Executive Board. His work has focused on economic growth, international trade and finance. He earned his Ph.D. degree in economics from Yale University.
Young people were innocent bystanders in the global financial crisis, but they may well end up paying the heaviest price for the policy mistakes that have led us to where we are today.
Young people will have to pay the taxes to service the debts accumulated in recent years.
Moreover, the global economy is threatened by continued strains in the euro area, and unemployment is still climbing in several countries, in particular in Europe. Young people (those aged 15 to 24) are the most affected, and youth unemployment has reached record levels in a number of countries.
If the right policies are not put into place, there is a risk not only of a lost decade in terms of growth but also of a lost generation.
Consider this. In Spain and Greece, nearly half of all young people cannot find jobs. In the Middle East, young people account for 40 percent or more of all unemployed people in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia and nearly 60 percent in Syria and Egypt. And in the United States, which traditionally has had a strong job creation record, more than 18 percent of all young job seekers cannot find employment.
Legacy of loss
Youth unemployment has long-term consequences for economic growth because of the loss or degradation of human capital. But it also has many other consequences, both for the individuals affected and for society as a whole.