Economic Outlook

IMF Regional Economic Outlook outlines opportunities for regional economic recovery in 2021

Looking ahead, policymakers must remain nimble as countries pivot from the immediate response to support the recovery and should act decisively to build stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive economies

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a global financial centre and a leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, co-hosted the virtual launch of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) October 2020 Regional Economic Outlook (REO) report for the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP).

The report shows that countries in the Middle East and North Africa region responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with swift and stringent measures to mitigate its spread and impact. Whilst there are small signs of recovery, global and regional recovery will take time. During the remainder of 2020, the report highlights the importance of continuing to strengthen health systems and cushion income losses. The outlook for 2021 identifies that most countries in the region are projected to see growth, albeit subdued.

The IMF report indicates that in the near future governments and policymakers need to continue to act decisively to secure jobs, provide liquidity to businesses and households, and protect the less well off. As the immediate recovery takes hold, the region will need to continue strengthening inclusion and addressing pressing vulnerabilities. Alongside providing favourable business environments and nurturing private investments, all of these actions will lay the groundwork for recovery to rebuild stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive economies.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer at DIFC Authority, said: “Partnering with the International Monetary Fund for the launch of their bi-annual regional economic outlook remains important to DIFC because it always provides useful recommendations for supporting future economic growth. In times such as these, it is even more important to collaborate with partners to gain insights. I am sure policymakers and businesses across the region will use the report to help boost their resilience, navigate beyond the pandemic and maximise opportunities for medium to long term growth.”  

Jihad Azour, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said: “As countries continue to contain the pandemic’s toll, policymakers must increasingly turn their attention to planning and financing the recovery ahead, with a renewed focus on building greener, more inclusive, and more resilient economies.”

The IMF Regional Economic Outlook report details trends and developments across countries of the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan (MENAP) and the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). The report’s findings and indicators are widely used as a benchmark for future economic projections and set the tone for growth, trade and investment.

The full report can be accessed