Sun. Oct 1st, 2023

The World Bank is keeping a close eye on the economic conditions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with a particular focus on the states of Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan, according to Ferid Belhaj, Vice President for MENA.

There are numerous concerns that the World Bank has about these nations, such as high debt levels, high inflation, and the role of the state in the economy. The state’s involvement in the economy has always been a point of worry for the bank, especially with a significant chunk of public debt that is not disclosed. To address these issues, the bank is advocating for more transparency in order to start reforms, as this is the only way to get a clear picture of the economic situation.

In Tunisia, the drive for reform is moving forward, albeit slower than the World Bank would like. Meanwhile, Lebanon is becoming increasingly problematic with high public debt levels and a collapsing financial sector, causing significant hardships for the people. The World Bank has already committed $900 million to Egypt this fiscal year and will continue to assess the situation and may commit more funds. The bank is also working on a five-year country partnership framework with Egypt, which will hopefully be approved by the World Bank’s board in March.

While progress towards reforms in the region is slow, it is still happening. The World Bank recognizes that reforms may be affected by global events, but progress is progress nonetheless. With its commitment to funding and advocacy for transparency and reforms, the World Bank is playing an important role in helping these countries get back on their feet and achieve a sustainable future.

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