High oil prices will support economic expansion in the Middle East and North Africa in 2012-2013 as importers grapple with fallout from the Arab Spring uprisings and external pressure, the IMF said yesterday.
The MENA region covered by the International Monetary Fund, which stretches from Iran to Mauritania, is expected to grow at 5.3 percent in 2012, compared with 3.3 percent last year, the IMF said in its annual World Economic Outlook.
Oil exporters will expand collectively at 6.6 percent, compared with 3.9 percent in 2011, thanks to a strong rebound by Libya after its economy came to a grinding halt during the 2011 revolt.
Oil importers, however, will see collective growth slow further to 1.2 percent, compared with 1.4 percent in 2011, as many countries face political and economic uncertainties as well as slowing growth in major trading partners. The IMF has excluded Syria from the regional aggregate due to its 19-month conflict.
“Higher government spending in most oil exporters has supported robust growth,” the fund said.
Countries with little or no oil wealth have meanwhile suffered a drop in tourism and foreign direct investments due to uncertainty and unrest, the fund said.