The real gross domestic product growth of Middle East and North Africa (Mena) countries is projected to nearly double from 2.4 per cent in 2009 to 4.5 per cent in 2010, much higher than the World Bank’s estimates of 3.7 per cent for this year, said a study by Organisation of Economic Co-operation Development (OECD).
The study projected that the regional economies’ growth will see marginal increase to 4.8 per cent next year, also higher than World Bank’s estimates of 4.4 per cent in 2010.
International Monetary Fund said in a study late last month that the GDP growth in Mena is projected to rise to 4.1 per cent from 3.8 per cent in 2009, but economic activity is falling short of other emerging markets and is not fast enough to meet the 6-7 per cent target needed to generate jobs to meet rising unemployment.
It also projected that the Mena countries’ real GDP growth this year will be at double the rate of high-income developed economies of OECD countries’ 2.7 per cent. It projected that the growth would be led by Bric countries, developing nations – mainly Asians.
The study claimed that the Mena – particularly the oil-rich Gulf Arab states – holds about $700 billion (Dh2.57 trillion) in foreign exchanges reserves at the end of January 2010. OECD study said that holdings of official foreign exchange reserves were worst hit in emerging Europe while emerging Asia, Africa and Middle East were the least hit by the 2008-2009 crisis.
Quoting Development Assistance Committee (DAC) figures, the OECD said that Arab countries provided $6bn in assistance in 2008. However, only a small part of their development assistance is reported to the DAC and actual aid figures are thus likely to be higher.
But, ironically, the Middle East and Africa contributes only one per cent to $1.1trn of global research spend.