Middle East News
IMF says Mideast protests could help foster long-term growth
Feb 18, 2011, 23:24 GMT
Washington - The wave of protests and potential transitions to democracy in Middle Eastern countries could help the region's economies grow faster over the long term, a senior official from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Friday.
But Masood Ahmed, head of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department, said any political reforms would have to lead to 'inclusive growth' that improved living standards for all of the populations in those countries.
Recent popular protests in Egypt and a number of countries in the Middle East could unleash greater long-term growth potential in the region,' Ahmed said in a statement.
In an interview with the IMF's internal magazine earlier this week, Ahmed said there was 'no doubt' that Egypt's economy would suffer in the short-run, as the three-week wave of protests that brought down Egyptian leader Hosny Mubarak effectively brought the country's economy to a standstill.
Egypt's economy had been strengthening in recent years, after some economic reforms by Mubarak. The IMF had predicted growth of 5.5 per cent in 2011.
But he cautioned on Wednesday: 'While the economic and daily life of Egyptians is beginning to return to normality, events are still unfolding, and it is very early to make any firm assessment of the economic impact.'
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