Mubasher: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has upgraded its outlook for the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the MENA region to 4% in 2021, compared to its October projection of 3.2%.
The real GDP growth of the GCC countries is forecast to stand at 2.7% in 2021 and 3.8% in 2022, according to the IMF's report "Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia" released in April 2021.
The activities in oil-exporting countries are expected to recover in 2021, supported by the projected upturn in the second half (H2) of 2021.
The non-oil GDP of oil-exporting countries is forecast to increase by 3.3% in 2021, driven by higher oil prices and early vaccine rollouts.
Meanwhile, the oil GDP would grow by 5.8% in 2021 amid the surge in Libya’s oil production by more than 233% following the reopening of oil fields and ports in late 2020.
As for oil importers, their economies are forecast to register a growth rate at 2.3% in 2021, a downgrade of 0.4% compared to the IMF's October 2020 outlook.
Growth projections for Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia, which highly depend on the tourism sector affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, have been downgraded.
Egypt and Pakistan’s economies, which were relatively resilient in 2020, would witness a slow recovery in 2021.
In the meantime, the region is projected to record a rise in inflation to 12.8% this year, driven by higher food prices in countries where food greatly contributes to the consumption basket, higher energy prices in oil-importing countries, depreciation in some countries, and monetary financing in others.
"2021 will be the year of policies that continue saving lives and livelihoods and promote recovery, while balancing the need for debt sustainability and financial resilience," the report referred.
"At the same time, policymakers must not lose sight of the transformational challenges to build forward better and accelerate the creation of more inclusive, resilient, sustainable, and green economies," the IMF added.