16:46 GMT23 July 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The oil-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa are going to the region's countries to endure the biggest challenges with recovering their economies after the coronavirus-related economic shock, Jihad Azour, the director of the IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, said on Thursday.

    Azour spoke at a video conference on the regional economic outlook in the Middle East and Central Asia, hosted by the Carnegie Middle East Center.

    "We expect that this year most of the economies in the Middle East and North Africa will endure negative growth. Of course, oil-exporting countries will face the biggest challenge in terms of growth outlook," Azour said.

    According to the official, the adjustment for oil-exporting is going to be larger this year, the reason why economic growth outlook is also going to be negative for countries importing oil, but with an even greater disparity between them.

    The IMF official acknowledged that the coronavirus crisis had had a "massive impact" on economic growth, prompting the regulator to revise twice its growth prospect for 2020, once in April and again in July.

    "We project that next year we will have a recovery," Azour continued, adding, however, that the recovery is not going to be as strong as the IMF expected two months ago, according to the official.
    People wearing protective masks walk along a street in downtown Tehran, Iran.
    © Sputnik / Anton Bystrov
    Iran New Coronavirus

    The coronavirus pandemic has triggered one of the worst global economic crises ever, with shocks in the oil market dragging prices down to decades-long lows. Supply chains have been distracted and trade slowed down significantly during the first part of the year, prompting a major redistribution of the global capital.

    The International Monetary Fund itself has streamed billions of dollars into emergency funding for developing economies hit by the pandemic.

    COVID-19, oil export, Africa, Middle East, International Monetary Fund
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