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Middle East and Central Asia Regional Economic Outlook (MCDREO)

Economic developments in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) continue to reflect the diversity of conditions prevailing across the region. Most high-income oil exporters, primarily in the GCC, continue to record steady growth and solid economic and financial fundamentals, albeit with medium-term challenges that need to be addressed. In contrast, other countries --Iraq, Libya, Syria -- mired in conflicts with not just humanitarian but also economic consequences. And yet other countries, mostly oil importers, are making continued but uneven progress in advancing their economic agenda, often in tandem with political transitions and amidst difficult social conditions. In most of these countries, without extensive economic and structural reforms, economic prospects for the medium term remain insufficient to reduce high unemployment and improve living standards. Economic activity in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region is weakening, mainly because of the near-term slowdown and rising regional tensions affecting Russia, a key trading partner and sources of remittance and investment inflows, as well as weaker domestic demand in a number of CCA countries. Near-term risks are to the downside and tied to the fortunes of large trading partners. Policies need to focus on bolstering economic stability and, where needed, short-term support to ailing economic growth. In addition, a new model for high, sustained, diversified, and inclusive growth is needed to set the direction for economic policies for the next decade.

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