The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Sunday the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) economic growth is still solid.
Speaking at the regional economic outlook session in Dubai, Masood Ahmed, the IMF director of the Middle East and Central Asia department, said the MENA region will grow by 5.1 percent in 2012 (up from 3.3 percent in 2011) "before moderating in 2013."
However, the region witnesses a significant growth gap between Arab oil exporting nations, which the IMF expects to grow by 6.6 percent this year, and oil importing states, which Ahmed said will register "just above 2 percent."
While oil export nations benefitted from high oil prices and production this year, MENA oil importers are suffering from a difficult external environment, such as negative spillover effects from the Euro zone debt crisis and domestic disruptions.
The latter phenomenon mostly applies to Arab oil importing states whose governments were toppled in the wake of the Arab unrest and which are now in a state of transition such as Tunisia, Egypt, or Yemen.
Although traveler figures picked up in Tunisia and Egypt this year, their tourism sectors were still operating below levels in 2010 before the unrest broke out in early 2011, said Ahmed.