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IMF: Economic integration of Maghreb countries could be financially rewarding

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks during the IMF economic conference in Marrakesh on 30 January 2018. [STR/AFP/Getty Images]
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks during the IMF economic conference in Marrakesh on 30 January 2018. [STR/AFP/Getty Images]

A recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that, if implemented, economic integration among the countries of the Maghreb region would make it possible to achieve a huge economic output that would bring benefits to these countries.

According to the report, this integration could lead to the establishment of a mass market of about 100 million consumers, and achieve Gross Domestic Product of more than $360 billion, while per capita regional GDP will be about $4,000 in nominal terms.

The report, entitled “Economic Integration in the Maghreb: An Unexploited Source of Growth“, pointed out that economic integration of the Arab Maghreb could play an important role in the strategy of promoting growth in the region, noting that there were various estimates that regional integration could contribute to increased growth in each Maghreb country of almost one per cent over the long term.

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The report, prepared by a group of experts, explained that intraregional trade could double as a result of integration and thus support growth, which raises employment levels. It added that greater integration could lead to both winners and losers within each country. This requires policies to address potential imbalances.

The IMF report called on Maghreb countries to reduce barriers to trade and investment and link infrastructure networks between them. It also stressed the need to focus efforts towards liberalisation of markets for goods, services, capital and labour. It explained that trade within the Arab Maghreb countries could be boosted.

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