How Will Arab Economies Grow in 2021?

Published April 15th, 2021 - 05:30 GMT
globe 2021
(Shutterstock: Mikibella)

As hopes of a more stable year than 2020 continue to spread around the world, at a time vaccines are being administered in bulk across the world, one can not help but wonder how this will reflect on the deep economic crisis we have lived through for a little over a year now.

While it is easy to say that the worst part of the financial crisis is far behind us, experts and policymakers often need quantitative data that can guide future plans and policies, which has been provided in the latest report conducted by the International Monetary Fund, highlighting the organization's expectations for economic growth rates in the region during 2021.

The IMF has anticipated a "long and divergent" path to recovery in the region, one that is still largely impacted by COVID-19, especially that vaccines have not been distributed fairly worldwide. 

Countries that have been already been struggling economically, whether due to scarcity of resources, bad governance, or armed conflicts are not expected to lead the list throughout 2021, since priorities will be more focused on saving lives and helping millions of people overcome the aggravating economic calamity.

Yet, countries that have recently ended years of conflicts, like Libya, can expect high margins of growth during this year, particularly as Libya is one of the richest countries in oil in North Africa. Moreover, countries receiving financial aid that was cut for years should expect high growth rates, such as the Palestinian territories, which is expected to receive at least $235m from the Biden administration, after the former Trump administration had cut them off back in 2017.

As we take a look at the numbers provided by the IMF for 2021, it is important to remember that the organization has advised policymakers and stakeholders to work hard on balancing post-pandemic reconstruction efforts in addition to ensuring better, more inclusive, and resilient green economies.

Unfortunately, the report does not provide any data on the Lebanese economy, which has been going through a historic crisis since the fall of 2019, one that might require a separate study with special measures. 

Positive growth in Real GDP

1. Libya 130%

2. Palestinian territories 5.7%

3. Morocco 4.5%

4. Tunisia 3.18%

5. Bahrain 3.29%

6. UAE 3.09%

7. Algeria 2.86%

8. Iraq 1.11%


Negative growth in Real GDP

1. Mauritania -3.14%

2. Saudi Arabia -2.93%

3. Egypt -2.47%

4. Qatar -2.36%

5. Jordan -2.03%

6. Oman -1.76%

7. Kuwait -0.66%

8. Yemen -0.50%

9. Sudan -0.36%

What factors do you think can accelerate growth rates in your country? 

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