Mideast economy recovering but social unrest on the rise – IMF

The Middle East and North Africa are on track to economic recovery, but rising social unrest and unemployment are threatening to hinder progress, the International Monetary Fund says.

The MENA region, which includes the Arab countries and Iran, saw its real GDP growth shrink by 3.1 percent in 2020 due to lower oil prices and sweeping lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

But with rapid vaccination campaigns, particularly in the Gulf nations, the IMF predicts that GDP growth will rise to 4.1% this year, a slight upgrade of 0.1% from the last projection in April.

“The region is going through recovery in 2021. Since the beginning of the year, we see progress in the economic performance,” says Jihad Azour, director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF.

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