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IMF: Middle East economies to grow by 3.1% in 2021

February 5, 2021 at 9:09 am

Sign outside the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC, 15 April, 2020 [SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images]

The economies of countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will grow by 3.1 per cent during 2021, compared to 2020’s 3.8 per cent contraction due to the repercussions of the coronavirus, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday.

“The economic recovery in the MENA region will accelerate this year, but in a disproportionate manner,” IMF’s Director for the Middle East and Central Asia, Jihad Azour, said in a statement.

He added that acceleration would hinge on each country’s ability to get the coronavirus vaccine. “Access to the COVID-19 vaccine will play a critical role in the region’s recovery ahead,” he stressed.

“Countries with diversified vaccine providers and production have more favourable or broadly unchanged forecasts, while the outlook for those with more limited access to vaccines and those harder hit by the second wave looks weaker,” he reiterated.

Oil-rich Gulf countries were recently reported to have launched programs to vaccinate their populations, while other countries were falling behind due to a global vaccine shortage and limited funding.

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