The Middle East faces a number of factors suggesting a difficult economic period ahead, said Thomas Helbling, chief of the IMF research department.
Speaking to reporters at the launch of the World Bank’s World Economic Outlook on Tuesday in Lima, Peru, Helbling predicted setbacks for the region’s growth in the next two years.
The fall in oil prices is the most significant of these factors, said Helbling, given many of the region’s economies reliance on oil exports.
Political turmoil and the massive displacement of people from neighbouring nations are adding pressure to some countries like Jordan and Iraq, who have huge refugee populations.
But the stability of other countries, notably Egypt and Tunisia, will help the Middle East achieve stability and balance and preserve good levels of economic growth, according to Helbling.
He was keen to stress that Egypt is currently witnessing a period of economic stability, which will have a positive impact on the Middle East and could compensate for the weakness of other economies.
The IMF maintained forecasts for Egypt’a growth at 4.2 percent of GDP in 2015, and 4.3 percent in 2016 in their World Economic Outlook issued on Tuesday ahead of the World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Peru.
Another major factor for economic stability in the region is Iran, which is predicted to achieve an economic growth rate of over 4 percent in the coming two years, according to Helbling.