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

November 17, 2015

During our recent visit to South Africa, we got the feeling of an economy treading water and losing momentum. The economy, which has been hit hard by electricity shortages and a sharp sell-off in metals and minerals, is now being buffeted by one of the severest droughts in decades.

November 12, 2015

MENA oil exporting countries are facing difficult challenges adjusting to the sustained decline in international oil prices. A tighter fiscal stance will lead to weaker growth.

November 9, 2015

Speakers at our Africa Financial Summit held in Johannesburg late last week were moderately positive about the prospects for Africa’s economies despite the sobering global outlook.

October 30, 2015

Presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania last weekend.

October 23, 2015

Potential investors are now focusing on the Central Bank of Egypt’s exchange rate policy. We expect that the new governor will allow increased flexibility in the exchange rate, loosen capital controls, and maintain a relatively tight monetary policy.

October 23, 2015

Persistent deficits and a rise in public debt have left the government no room for fiscal stimulus to pull the economy out of the doldrums. The recent budgetary statement, incorporating weak revenue growth, has pushed fiscal consolidation further out. This adds to pressure on the Reserve Bank to maintain financial stability in a challenging global environment.

October 7, 2015

While a significant fiscal consolidation is underway, the fiscal surplus will shift to a modest deficit in 2015. Liquidity of banks has tightened due to low public deposits. Growth will moderate in 2015, reflecting a slowdown in public spending. The peg to the dollar will be maintained.

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.