Regional Economic Reports

These reports discuss recent economic developments and prospects for countries in various regions. They also address economic policy developments that have affected economic performance in the regions, and discuss key challenges faced by policymakers. They address regional policy developments and challenges, and provide country-specific data and analysis, including through analytical pieces on issues of interest to a particular region.

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Middle East and Central Asia

Regional Economic Outlook Update: Middle East and Central Asia

July 13, 2020

Description: The Middle East and Central Asia (MCD) region has reacted to the global COVID-19 pandemic with swift and stringent measures that have saved lives. However, these policies have also had a large impact on domestic economic activity. With several countries in the region beginning reopening in past weeks, and a recent uptick in activity, rising infection numbers may pose risks. A sharp decline in oil prices together with production cuts among oil exporters and disruptions in trade and tourism added further headwinds. As a result, growth in the region is now projected at –4.7 percent in 2020, 2 percentage points lower than in April 2020. The unusually high level of uncertainty regarding the length of the pandemic and its impact on firm closures, the resulting downside risks (including social unrest and political instability), and potential renewed volatility in global oil markets dominate the outlook. The pandemic will continue to test countries’ health capacity and economic resilience. While ensuring strong health systems remains the immediate priority, governments should also focus on supporting the recovery and setting up resilient and well-targeted social safety nets. As the pandemic wanes, countries should facilitate recovery by easing the reallocation of workers and resources, as needed, while resuming gradual fiscal adjustment and rebuilding policy buffers. Multilateral support can play a key role in helping countries surmount these shocks.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook: A Cautious Reopening

June 29, 2020

Description: The outlook for 2020 for sub-Saharan Africa is considerably worse than was anticipated in April and subject to much uncertainty. Economic activity this year is now projected to contract by some 3.2 percent, reflecting a weaker external environment and measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Growth is projected to recover to 3.4 percent in 2021 subject to the continued gradual easing of restrictions that has started in recent weeks and, importantly, if the region avoids the same epidemic dynamics that have played out elsewhere. Africa’s authorities have acted swiftly to support the economy, but these efforts have been constrained by falling revenues and limited fiscal space. Regional policies should remain focused on safeguarding public health, supporting people and businesses hardest hit by the crisis, and facilitating the recovery.The region cannot tackle these challenges alone, and a coordinated effort by all development partners will be key.

COVID-19: An Unprecedented Threat to Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

April 15, 2020

Description: Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis that threatens to throw the region off its stride, reversing the development progress of recent years and slow the region’s growth prospects in the years to come. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread through almost all countries. And as in the rest of the world, the health crisis has precipitated an economic crisis reflecting three large shocks: disruption of production and a sharp reduction in demand; spillovers from a sharp deterioration in global growth and tighter financial conditions; and a severe decline in commodity prices. As a result, the region’s economy is projected to contract by 1.6 percent this year—the worst reading on record. The economic crisis will exacerbate social conditions and aggravate existing economic vulnerabilities, while containment measures and social distancing will inevitably jeopardize the livelihoods of countless people. Decisive measures and support from the international community are urgently needed to limit the humanitarian and economic losses and protect the most vulnerable societies.

Middle East and Central Asia

Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Middle East and Central Asia

April 15, 2020

Description: Countries of the Middle East and Central Asia region have been hit by two large and reinforcing shocks, resulting in significantly weaker growth projections in 2020. In addition to the devastating toll on human health, the COVID-19 pandemic and the plunge in oil prices are causing economic turmoil in the region, with fragile and conflict affected states particularly hard-hit given already large humanitarian and refugee challenges and weak health infrastructures. The immediate priority for policies is to save lives with needed health spending, regardless of fiscal space, while preserving engines of growth with targeted support to households and hard-hit sectors. In this context, the IMF has been providing emergency assistance to help countries in the region during these challenging times. Further ahead, economic recoveries should be supported with broad fiscal and monetary measures where policy space is available, and by seeking external assistance where space is limited.

Europe

Middle East and Central Asia

Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia

October 28, 2019

Description: The impact on growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region from global headwinds remains muted thus far, while growth in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region is stable. However, growth is too low to meet the needs of growing populations, while risks to the outlook have increased. They include global trade uncertainties, volatile oil prices, geopolitical tensions, and domestic vulnerabilities in some countries.

Asia and Pacific Region

Asia and Pacific Regional Economic Outlook: Caught in Prolonged Uncertainty

October 22, 2019

Description: Headwinds from prolonged global policy uncertainty, distortionary trade measures, and growth deceleration in the economies of important trading partners are influencing economic growth in Asia and the Pacific. Although the region is still the world’s fastest growing major region, contributing more than two-thirds to global growth, near-term prospects have deteriorated noticeably since the April 2019 World Economic Outlook, with risks skewed to the downside.

Western Hemisphere Region

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook: Navigating Uncertainty

October 18, 2019

Description:

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to remain at 3.2 percent in 2019 and rise to 3.6 percent in 2020. The expected recovery, however, is at a slower pace than previously envisaged for about two-thirds of the countries in the region, partly due to a challenging external environment. Growth is projected to remain strong in non-resource-intensive countries, averaging about 6 percent. As a result, 24 countries, home to about 500 million people, will see their per capita income rise faster than the rest of the world. In contrast, growth is expected to move in slow gear in resource-intensive countries (2½ percent). Hence, 21 countries are projected to have per capita growth lower than the world average. Reducing risks and promoting sustained and inclusive growth across all countries in the region requires carefully calibrating the near-term policy mix, building resilience, and raising medium-term growth.

Middle East and Central Asia

Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia Update

April 29, 2019

Description: Growth for countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region has weakened but remains broadly stable in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). Volatile oil prices, restrained oil production, and tighter domestic monetary conditions in most oil exporters add to headwinds from slowing global growth. Elevated public debt in oil importers limits capacity to address critical infrastructure and social needs, restrains growth, and leaves economies vulnerable to external shocks. A more challenging external environment increases the urgency across all regions of further growth-friendly fiscal consolidation and structural reform efforts to enhance resilience and deliver higher and more inclusive private-sector-led growth.

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