CAIRO: Economic growth in Egypt and Morocco is expected to pick up significantly, boosted by improvements in the European economy, lower oil prices, and some progress on the policy front, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a Friday report.
“In Egypt and Morocco, growth is expected to accelerate in 2015 to 4-5 percent, reflecting a pickup in investment for Egypt and a strong harvest in Morocco,” the IMF predicted, adding “The Fund is also engaged in a fruitful dialogue with the Egyptian authorities on macroeconomic policies and structural reform needs.”
The rest of Arab Countries in Transition (ACTs) have had diverging trajectories over the past year and face an “uncertain outlook,” suffering from intensifying and spreading conflicts that cause widespread human suffering and sizeable economic challenges, the fund added.
Non-conflict ACTs experienced positive growth in 2014 and the first half of 2015, and inflation was contained to below 5 percent in most countries but for Egypt and Yemen.
The IMF sees the “successful” bond issuances in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia as signs of improving confidence, but it criticized unemployment soaring rates, especially among the youth and women.
While Libya and Yemen are directly affected, spillovers from these conflicts and the civil wars in Iraq and Syria burdened Jordan and Tunisia, as well as other countries in the region, including Turkey and Lebanon.
The fund urged Arab countries to strengthen economic resilience and address long-standing sources of inequity and exclusion, affirming that scaled-up support from the international community would be “critical” for regional stability, tackling the refugee crisis, and securing a more promising economic future for the ACTs.