Gulf countries have provided Arab states with $54 billion over the past five years to support them in facing challenges, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, said yesterday.
Speaking during the Seventh Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai, Georgieva said: "There are several risks that cause concern in the region… The Russian war in Ukraine and climate disasters could worsen food shortages for the most vulnerable. Add to this persistently high unemployment, especially among young people, and you have a significant risk to social stability."
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She estimated that inflation in the region would surpass ten per cent, which is above the global average, for the fourth year in a row, while the GCC countries would continue to contain inflation.
With the global economy slowing down, the IMF expected growth to decline in the Middle East and North Africa region as well, from 5.4 per cent in 2022 to 3.2 per cent this year, before rising to 3.5 per cent in 2024, she added.
In oil-exporting countries in particular, Georgieva saw that reducing production, according to the OPEC+ agreement, may lead to a decline in total oil revenues, while challenges will continue in oil-importing countries.
Public debt is a major concern, as several economies in the region are facing high debt-to-GDP ratios, which are close to 90 per cent in some countries, according to the international official.
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