The Middle East and North Africa responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with swift and stringent measures to mitigate its spread and impact but continue to face an uncertain and difficult environment. The latest outlook for the region shows oil exporters, in particular, were hard hit by a “double-whammy” of the economic impact of lockdowns and a sharp decline in oil demand and prices. Jihad Azour heads the IMF's outlook for the region. In this podcast, he says while containing the health crisis is still the priority, governments must also start laying the groundwork for an economic recovery that will allow countries to emerge stronger.
Jihad Azour is Director of the IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department.