The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) department provides in-depth macroeconomic analysis on 15 MENA countries, including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the UAE. Most Research Notes on these countries are typically the result of country visits and contain a review of economic trends; an analysis of macroeconomic policies; assessment of political stability; and a detailed database and near-term economic forecast. In addition, we publish two regional (the GCC and MENA) reports. Through its annual Economic Forum and CEO meetings, the department also maintains close contact and exchanges ideas on an ongoing basis with the leading economists and CEOs of member firms in the MENA region. The country work in the MENA department is also integrated with the IIF’s two flagship reports: the Global Economic Monitor and Capital Flows to Emerging Markets.

Sub-Saharan Africa

The Sub-Saharan section of the Africa-Middle East department provides comprehensive, forward-looking analysis on the major economies in the region, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia. In-depth economic reports that are framed within the political and social context of each country cover topics such as the short- and medium-term outlook for growth, inflation and the balance of payments; the factors that drive capital flows and exchange rate movements; an assessment of monetary, fiscal and structural policies and how this affects financial stability; and analysis of key risks. Reports and analysis are grounded in comprehensive databases that provide forecasts for all the key macroeconomic variables over a 2-year time horizon. Most of the Research Notes are based on regular visits to the countries and are the result of discussions with government officials, private sector participants and think tanks.

In addition to individual Country Research Notes, the department produces an annual Regional Report that provides cross-country analysis and looks at topical themes and issues in the region. The department also provides regular input to some of the IIF’s flagship reports, such as the Global Economic Monitor and Capital Flows to Emerging Markets. The work of the department is showcased at the annual IIF Africa Financial Summit, which attracts senior bankers and high-level public officials from the region, including Central Bank Governors and Ministers of Finance, as well as executives from global firms with an interest in Africa.

Documents & Resources

February 11, 2016

Against the background of the oil price crash, external and fiscal balances have deteriorated. While the government is trying to deliver on campaign promises on security, good governance, and jobs, growth is expected to be modest and the naira is expected to remain under pressure.

February 5, 2016

Government officials and bankers with whom we met painted a mixed picture of current conditions and prospects for the UAE economy. While most officials shared the view that the economy is in a strong position to withstand low oil prices, several bankers noted that prolonged low oil prices may make it more difficult for banks to fund expansion.

February 5, 2016

The rand has come under intense pressure recently amid concerns over increased political interference in economic policy making and deterioration in economic prospects. January’s interest rate hike brought some stability to the market but needs to be backed up by a prudent budget on February 24.

February 4, 2016

Discussions during our recent visit to Kuwait highlighted improvement in the implementation of the five-year development plan and gradual fiscal consolidation. At the same time, we heard increasing worry about the impact of prolonged low oil prices and continued concern that reforms are needed to achieve higher non-oil growth.

January 28, 2016

*Chicken or egg—what’s driving market volatility?

*FOMC statement—shifting dovish

*EM portfolio flows continue unprecedented slide

*In search of safer havens—fund flows favor core bonds

*South Africa—MPC bites the bullet

January 14, 2016

* Markets reassess 2016 prospects
* Spotlight on FX pegs
* Renewed oil price slump clouds outlook for producers
* EM Growth Tracker shows small rebound in December
* Turkey– rising geopolitical uncertainty

January 6, 2016

Reduced public spending, together with weaker business sentiment, will bring growth down to 1.2% in 2016, from 3.3% in 2015. The authorities’ gradual but sizeable fiscal consolidation plan, if implemented fully, should put the fiscal stance on a more sustainable footing in the medium term.

December 17, 2015

The sharp drop in oil prices has provided a major shock to oil-exporting countries, but policy responses have differed in Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela, with most countries making substantial progress in adjusting to low oil prices.

December 17, 2015

Following the oil price collapse, GCC states are drawing down their reserves and fiscal buffers to soften the impact on activity. Although Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE are likely to preserve their sizable foreign assets, the buffers of other GCC states could be depleted if low oil prices persist.

December 10, 2015

*Eyes on emerging markets
*Fed preview—thinking beyond liftoff
*Growth Tracker shows further EM slowdown
*China—capital outflows remain high in Q4
*South Africa—rising nervousness
*Latin America—pro-market forces take root