MENA Economic Update
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This report is produced two times per year, reporting on the recent economic developments and short term outlook of the Middle East and North Africa region. It is produced by the Chief Economist's office of the region (MNACE). These reports highlight a particular theme (such as fuel subsidies, service delivery, oil prices). This series was formerly known as MENA Economic Monitor, and before that, Middle East and North Africa Regional Economic Update, and combines with the series Middle East and North Africa Quarterly Economic Brief.
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Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, October 2017: Refugee Crisis in MENA, Meeting the Development Challenges(Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2017-10-11) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Mottaghi, LiliThe pickup in economic activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is expected to continue in 2018 and 2019. MENA's oil exporters and oil importers both are benefitting from improved global growth; increased trade with trading partners in Europe and Asia; more stabilized commodity markets, especially oil; and some reforms undertaken in the region. The World Bank estimates that growth will accelerate to above 3 percent in 2019. Growth, however, remains below potential as crises and conflicts continue to damage output and reduce employment. While MENA has experienced more frequent conflicts than any other part of the world, by its magnitude, the refugee crisis represents something new. The protracted stay of refugees in hosting communities, now in its sixth year, not only has increased the risk to MENA's economic outlook but also has brought refugees' long-term development challenges to the forefront. Meeting these enormous challenges requires collective efforts.
Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, April 2017: The Economics of Post-Conflict Reconstruction in MENA(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017-04-17) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Mottaghi, LiliPlagued by war, violence and low oil prices, economic activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remained subdued between 2013 and 2015, but the situation is expected to improve and growth to surge above 3 percent over the forecast period. Though still below potential, the improvement in growth offers hope. We see signs of "green shoots" in some countries in the region, therefore we have upgraded our short-term prospects for MENA from "cautiously pessimistic" to "cautiously optimistic" over the forecast period. The prospects of peace in Syria, Yemen and Libya are one of the keys to resuming growth over the next decade. But realizing that potential depends crucially on how the post-conflict reconstruction is conducted. On the one hand, a well-managed process could help these war-tom countries rebuild their shattered economies and re-integrate their people so that the region as a whole, and possibly the rest of the world, benefits. On the other hand, a badly managed process can risk a recurrence of conflict, continued stagnation and suffering, and perpetual fragility. The economics of postconflict reconstruction, therefore, is critical to the future of MENA's economies.
Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, April 2016: Syria, Reconstruction for Peace(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-04-11) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Mottaghi, Lili ; Do, Quy-Toan ; Jelil, Mohamed AbdelThe short term economic outlook for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remains “cautiously pessimistic”. A combination of civil wars and refugee inflows, terrorist attacks, cheap oil, and subdued global economic recovery is expected to keep average growth in the MENA region around 3 percent in 2016, for the fourth year in a row. Furthermore, the humanitarian and economic situation in the war torn countries keep deteriorating. In this report we will explore ways in which a strategy of reconstruction of Syria—the most war-ravaged country in the region—could help foster a sustainable peace. This report argues that the impact of the civil war on the Syrian society will be persistent, and the challenges facing the country need to be addressed now. The report calls for the international community to be the guarantor of an inclusive reconstruction strategy that not only makes peace sustainable tomorrow, but makes it happen today: peace and reconstruction are two sides of the same coin.
MENA Quarterly Economic Brief, January 2016: The Economic Effects of War and Peace(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-02-03) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Mottaghi, LiliThis report estimates economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to fall short of expectations, at 2.6 percent in 2015, below the 2.8 percent predicted in October. Being constrained by war, terrorism and to some extent cheap oil, short term growth prospects in MENA remain “cautiously pessimistic.” Not only have the civil wars caused untold damage to human and physical capital, in Yemen the number of poor people has almost doubled after the war, but they have created one of the biggest forced displacement crises since World War II. The report examines the different ways in which civil wars are affecting the economies of the region, including the important channel of forced displacement. We also explore how economic fortunes will turn around if there is peace. A peace settlement in the war-torn Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen could lead to a swift rebound in oil output and exports, allowing them to increase fiscal space, improve current account balances and boost economic growth in the medium term with positive spillovers to the neighboring countries.