Press Release: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Highlights the Strong Performance of GCC Countries and Welcomes their Positive Contribution to World Stability
October 6, 2012Press Release No. 12/383
October 6, 2012
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today at the conclusion of a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the finance ministers and central bank governors of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC):1
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the finance ministers and central bank governors of the GCC. The GCC meetings are an important example of how countries can work together to address the challenges they are facing. Indeed, the GCC is fundamentally about cross-country economic cooperation, which will also be the focus of the upcoming 2012 IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo.
“While prospects remain challenging for many countries throughout the Arab World, the GCC economies are enjoying high growth. The effects of the global downturn have so far been limited, oil prices remain near historically high levels, and higher export volumes have contributed to buoyant hydrocarbon revenue. With expansionary fiscal policies and low interest rates providing strong stimulus, the GCC’s 7.5 percent output growth in 2011 was the highest since 2003, and growth is remaining strong in 2012.
“Nevertheless, given the uncertain global outlook, continued emphasis on strengthening resilience, including in fiscal and financial sectors, will be important alongside greater focus on the foundations for longer-term growth.
“Employment and job creation has taken center stage in the global economy in recent years. For several GCC countries, job creation for nationals is a key priority. Growth alone will not be enough. Steps to strengthen education and training, better job placement services, and measures to improve the relative attractiveness to employees of private versus public sector employment will also be needed.
“I would like to stress the important, positive role the GCC countries play in the broader Middle East and North Africa region, and the world at large. The generous financial aid the GCC has provided to some of the Arab countries undergoing transition is helping those countries through a very difficult period. And, at the global level, GCC countries’ oil policy has helped stabilize oil markets and counter price pressures that could have inflicted serious damage on the world economy.
“I thank H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance, for hosting this meeting in the Kingdom.”
1 The GCC is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.