Published on Arab Voices

Growth slowdown in five MENA countries extends into 2013

World BankThis week’s mass demonstrations in Egypt and assassination of an opposition leader in Tunisia -- not to mention the continuing conflict in Syria -- highlight the turmoil and uncertainty facing many countries in the Middle East and North Africa.To track the effects of these and other developments on the economy, the MENA Quarterly Economic Brief provides a real-time review, using high-frequency data, of five countries that are at risk of sluggish economic growth in 2013.  Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and Iran are pressed by rising fiscal deficits and debt, high unemployment and inflation, and stalled growth. The reasons vary and include weak initial conditions (even before the Arab Spring in some cases), abrupt changes of government, increased security concerns following assassinations, spillovers from civil war in a neighboring country, and adverse impacts of international sanctions. While presentation of the final draft of the constitution to the public in Tunisia and post-election improvements in Iran’s international relations may help reduce uncertainty in these countries, the overall macroeconomic outlook in all five countries for the rest of 2013 is grim.

The first issue of the MENA Quarterly Economic Brief is now available online and accessible through MENA Facebook as well as MENA Chief Economist website of the World Bank.


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