Press Release: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Hopeful of Economic Potential of Arab Spring

December 6, 2011

Press Release No. 11/443
December 6, 2011

The historic transformation of the Arab world holds the promise of improving the lives of the people in the region, even though there are some inevitable short-term costs associated with the transition process, said International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde in a speech today hosted by the Safadi Foundation at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC.

“The Middle East and North Africa region is in the middle of a delicate transition between rejecting the past and defining the future. It is a period that needs to be managed in an orderly way. Although the journey might take some unpredictable twists and turns, I remain hopeful. The final destination is clear: The Arab spring is poised to unleash the extraordinary potential of the Arab people,” Ms. Lagarde said.

Ms. Lagarde said that with the right economic and social policies, short-term challenges can be addressed and the foundations laid for inclusive growth and job creation. “While each country in the region must find its own path to change, the over-arching economic goals of the Arab Spring remain clear – higher growth, growth that creates more jobs, and growth that is shared equitably among all strands of society. To achieve that, macroeconomic and financial stability remain absolutely essential. Without this secure foundation, any efforts to respond to people’s aspiration can simply not be realized,” Ms. Lagarde said.

The IMF’s Managing Director stated that while the region’s destiny lies with itself, the international community has a responsibility to help. It must listen to the hopeful voices and provide support including financing, technical assistance, and market access. “The IMF too stands ready to help. We are already offering the best policy advice and technical assistance possible. We will provide financing if requested,” Ms. Lagarde said.


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