Office of the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Macroeconomics, Economic growth, Trade policy
Office of the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated January 31, 2023
Lili Mottaghi is a Senior Economist in the office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank. She leads the work on regional macroeconomic outlook and has developed two semi-annual flagship publications MENA Economic Monitor and MENA Quarterly Economic Brief which presents the World Bank Group’s views on regional economic developments and prospects, growth forecast, and policy challenges. She also leads the impact evaluation research in the newly established MNA Gender Research Hub at the World Bank. Ms. Mottaghi is the author and co-author of numerous publications including articles published in international journals and World Bank reports. Her research covers a wide range of topics in macroeconomics and development including inclusive growth, technology, and the digital economy, commodity market forecast, inequality, forced displacement, and conflict. Before joining the Bank, she worked at the Management and Planning Organization in Iran where she held senior positions in the areas of economic growth, development, and macroeconomic modeling. Ms. Mottaghi received her Master and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from Claremont Graduate University and University of Tehran.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 15
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-07) Devarajan, Shanta ; Mottaghi, LiliThis issue of the MENA quarterly brief assesses the macroeconomic performance of seven of the MENA countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Libya. All of these countries experienced rapid economic growth during 2000-10, and suffered a sharp economic slowdown in the aftermath of 2011. The brief focuses on the challenges facing these countries with a closer look at the actual growth performance in comparison with their forecasts and highlights the limitations of forecasting in the wake of the 2011 uprisings; and at the consequences of the growth slowdown, including unemployment, where perceptions may diverge from reality. The story is told in fourteen charts.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank Group, 2014-09) Devarajan, Shanta ; Mottaghi, LiliThe Middle East and North Africa (MENA) data book serves as a quick reference and a reliable dataset for monitoring economic and social developments in the region. The data are drawn from the 2014 World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI) and International Monetary Fund's (IMF's) direction of trade statistics. It contains macroeconomic, sectoral, and social indicators for 19 countries in the MENA region and aggregates for other developing regions. The data book presents following topics: basic indicators; national and fiscal accounts; trade; infrastructure; and human development.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-12) Freund, Caroline ; Ianchovichina, Elena ; Wood, Christina ; Mottaghi, LiliThis note is based on report entitled Looking Ahead after a Year in Transition that was issued by the Chief Economist s office of the Middle East and North Africa region of the World Bank. Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen are given special attention because each of them experienced a revolution and a major political change in 2011 and is undergoing a process of political transition toward democracy. In each of the four focus countries, the transition authorities have been charged with implementing agreed time-bound actions leading to democratic elections for new constitutions, presidents and /or parliamentary bodies. Tunisia s new elections are expected to be held no later than June 30, 2013. Egypt lacks a full constitution and parliament, and the transition framework remains uncertain, having been reshaped multiple times by a series of constitutional declarations, laws, decrees, legal challenges and court rulings. Libya barring major disruptions appears to be on track to adopt its new constitution in 2013. In Yemen the new government led by President Hadi is overseeing a two year transition period that is to end with elections.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-04) Mottaghi, LiliCompared with the past three years, 2014 seems hopeful and 2015 can be a turning point for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries. After a slowdown in 2013, recovery in high income economies is expected to boost global growth to 3.2 percent in 2014, an increase of 0.8 percent from 2013. Global output is to improve further in 2015 with real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.4 percent. In addition to growth expansion in the United States, the United Kingdom, as well modest recovery in the Euro zone countries, global growth will continue to be driven by growth in developing countries, expected to be between 5.3 to 5.5 percent in 2014 and 2015 respectively, led by China and India. Higher global demand is expected to boost MENA energy and manufactured exports in countries that have trade linkages with high-income countries. MENA countries share many structural problems that have prevented economies from moving to a higher, sustainable growth path. Fiscal spending in almost all MENA countries is dominated by a large civil-service wage bill and general subsidies. The global recovery remains fragile and downside risks, including continued low inflation in high-income economies, can weaken demand and delay economic recovery.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-01) Devarajan, Shanta ; Mottaghi, LiliThis issue of the MENA Quarterly Economic Brief focuses on the implications of low oil prices for eight developing countries, or the MENA-8 (oil importers: Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan and oil exporters: Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Libya) and the economies of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), who play a major role in providing funds in the form of aid, investment, tourism revenues and remittances to the rest of the countries of the region. We make the following assumptions about the future price of oil: (i) The price will average $65 Brent p/b in 2015; (ii) a higher price $78 Brent p/b will be used for comparison analysis. As with other economic variables, there is uncertainty associated with the future price of oil, which adds to the error involved in projections. The data for 2015 2017 in the figures and tables are projections. These projections are based on statistical information available through early January 2015.
Publication( 2015-04) Mottaghi, LiliThe global economy will grow 3 to 3.5 percent this year, 0.5 percent higher than last year s 2.6 percent, and surpassing the average growth rate of 3.1 percent during 2000-08, before the financial crisis. The magnitude of the gains will depend on, among other factors, the share of oil imports in gross domestic product (GDP). Oil exporters (including Russia) can see a sharp fall in growth deteriorating fiscal balances with significant regional consequences. Low oil prices have significantly affected the economies of the oil exporters - accounting for 2-3 of the countries in the region. Economic growth in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is expected to continue on the same path in 2016. If the security situation in Libya improves and oil exports increase, the regional average can surge to 4 percent to 5 percent in 2016.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-04-01) Ianchovichina, Elena ; Mottaghi, Lili ; Carey, Kevin ; Spivak, Nadia ; Farazi, Subika ; Silwal, AniThis edition of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional economic update concerns the region recovering from the financial crisis along with the global economy. Growth in 2010 is expected to be 4.4 percent region-wide, driven by domestic absorption as well as a positive contribution from external demand. The recovery from the crisis differs by country depending on initial conditions and the intensity of the impact via the three principal channels through which the global financial crisis affected MENA economies-the financial sector, the price of oil, and the balance of payments, reflecting the impact on trade, remittances and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are leading the regional recovery as oil prices have rebounded and the GCC financial sector is stabilizing. Developing oil exporters felt the impact of the crisis, and now the recovery, largely through the oil price channel, due to the limited integration of their banking sectors into global financial markets and the importance of oil in their exports. The oil importers were affected by the crisis through the secondary effects on trade, remittances, and FDI flows, so their recovery will depend crucially on the recovery in key markets, especially the EU and the GCC countries. High unemployment has been a problem in MENA for years, and the crisis has dimmed prospects for improvements in the near term. Ample oil and gas resources, a youthful and growing workforce, and a growing momentum to look for ways to diversify their economies imply that the growth potential of the region is high, but MENA countries continue to face formidable longer term challenges. Ensuring access to finance without compromising financial stability will be a major challenge in MENA, although issues related to weak regulatory systems, corporate governance and overdependence on the banking system also loom large. Key problems of the business environment in MENA include policy and regulatory uncertainty and discretion in implementing reforms which prevent a level playing field for all firms and encourage the pursuit of privileged access. These problems, coupled with barriers to entry and exit, have created an environment of stagnation. Addressing these issues will require applying rules and regulations consistently and without discrimination among firms and introducing reforms that promote business dynamism, private investment, and innovation.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-10-19) Arezki, Rabah ; Moreno-Dodson, Blanca ; Yuting Fan, Rachel ; Gansey, Romeo ; Nguyen, Ha ; Cong Nguyen, Minh ; Mottaghi, Lili ; Tsakas, Constantin ; Wood, ChristinaThe MENA Economic Update is a product of the World Bank's Office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa. This presents the short-term, macroeconomic outlook and economic challenges facing countries in the region.
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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10) Mottaghi, LiliAgainst the backdrop of a slowing global economy and lower commodity prices, economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is stagnating. The World Bank 2015 MENA economic monitor report projects overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth to be less than 3 percent for the third year running - about 2.8 percent for 2015. Low oil prices, conflicts, and the global economic slowdown make short-term prospects of recovery unlikely. In a positive scenario of decreasing tensions in Libya, Iraq, and Syria, together with recovery in the Euro area that can boost external demand, growth in the region can rebound to 4.4 percent in 2016 and the following year. However, if current circumstances persist, overall growth is not expected to recover any time soon. Since the 2011 Arab spring, though not necessarily because of it, the MENA region has seen a slowdown in economic growth, an escalation of violence and civil war and, more recently, substantial macroeconomic imbalances from lower oil prices.