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, Cote d’Ivoire 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

September 30, 2015

After a turbulent few years that saw the cedi depreciate sharply, inflation surge, interest rates hiked and growth slow, Ghana appears to be on an uneven road to recovery. Tough challenges lie ahead, not least of which will be adhering to a stringent fiscal consolidation program in an election year.

September 22, 2015

Our recent visit to Nairobi underlined that Kenya has emerged as one of Africa's strongest performers. Unlike in other major Sub-Saharan African countries, growth is set to accelerate this year, to about 5.7% from 5.3% in 2014. Although the "long rains" came late, holding back growth in Q1, rainfall was good during most of the growing season and a rebound in agriculture should boost growth in H2.

September 21, 2015

Growth is expected to remain weak. While large net external assets (383% of GDP in 2014) and strong political alliances have shielded Kuwait’s economy from the oil crash and regional conflict, growth has disappointed. We expect real GDP to rise only 1 percent this year after contracting 1.6% in 2014.

September 17, 2015

Les autorités ont mis en œuvre des actions politiques fortes pour atteindre une stabilité macroéconomique et réduire les vulnérabilités. Cependant, la performance de la croissance demeure une préoccupation. Des réformes structurelles plus conséquentes sont nécessaires afin de réduire le chômage.

September 17, 2015

Once IAEA confirms that Iran has taken the necessary steps to curb its nuclear program, Iran will gain access to about $60 billion in frozen assets, be able to start selling more oil on international markets, and rejoin the SWIFT international transactions network.

September 9, 2015

The oil price crash and the slow political transition is taking its toll on the Nigerian economy. With prospects for a significant recovery in oil prices distant, we expect the naira to remain under pressure and growth to be subdued.

September 8, 2015

Widespread corruption and political paralysis are shaking the social and physical landscape of Lebanon. The country has seen anti-government protests in the past few weeks by a popular nonsectarian movement, unaffiliated with any political party, called the “You Stink” campaign.

August 27, 2015

One year dollar riyal forwards have risen sharply, but the dollar peg will remain intact. However, given large projected deficits, time may be ripe for some consolidation, removal of implicit subsidies, and divestment of state assets to unlock efficiency and economic gains.

August 27, 2015

Weak economic data, China-related market turmoil and looming Fed tightening pose a major dilemma for South African policymakers, but we believe authorities will raise rates.

August 20, 2015

The authorities’ sound policies combined with low oil prices have helped maintain macroeconomic stability and reduce external and fiscal vulnerabilities. But there are concerns about continued modest nonagricultural growth. Boosting growth will depend on pressing ahead with deeper reforms