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Growth in Middle East, Central Asia to slow amid global challenges – IMF

Economic growth in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia regions will slow in 2023, underlining the need to accelerate structural reforms, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday.

Real GDP growth in the Middle East and Central Asia is forecast to fall to 2.9% in 2023, from 5.3% last year, before improving to 3.5% in 2024, the IMF said in its Regional Economic Outlook report.

Growth in the Middle East and North Africa region will slow to 3.1% in 2023, from 5.3% a year ago, and to 4.2% in the Caucasus and Central Asian states from 4.8% last year.

“Uncertainties are high and there are a number of risks that are impacting the outlook for the region,” IMF regional director Jihad Azour told Reuters.

“Some risks are global, some are related to the risk of fragmentation, but some of it is due to the fact that a certain number of countries have a high level of debt,” he said.

The report said that tight monetary and fiscal policies across the region and tight financial conditions “call for accelerating structural reforms to bolster potential growth and enhance resilience.”

Growth in Egypt is forecast to slow to 3.7% in 2023 from 6.6% in 2022 amid economic woes that led it to seek a $3 billion, 46-month financial support package from the IMF.

The IMF forecast is more conservative than the 4% projected in a recent Reuters poll.

“It is very important for a programme that is set to be implemented over four years to anchor confidence by accelerating reforms, and also to maintain the discipline on the macroeconomic front, to make sure the attractiveness of the Egyptian economy for investors and the recovery of growth is taking shape,” Azour said.
Source: Reuters

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