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

May 16, 2016

The recent government overhaul signals the King’s determination to reform the economy. The strategy of increasing oil market share is working. Deep structural reforms, as highlighted in Vision 2030, would lead to sustained higher growth beyond the near term, driven by the private sector.

May 12, 2016

* Fresh impetus in the search for yield
* U.S. monetary policy--recent data likely to reinforce Fed patience
* More stable China capital flows—for now
* Saudi Arabia—strong determination to reform
* EM bank lending conditions deteriorate further
* Brazil — A new boss in town

May 10, 2016

Our recent visit to Lusaka found an economy struggling in the aftermath of a collapse in copper prices, a hefty depreciation, a surge in inflation, and electricity shortages. Talks with the IMF have been initiated to provide support and address policy imbalances, but no program will be agreed upon until after the general election in August.

May 3, 2016

Our recent visit to Riyadh coincided with the unveiling by the Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman (the King’s son), of a sweeping new economic plan, Vision 2030.

April 28, 2016

* What next for the rally?
* Japan—BoJ holds back
* Fed—tip-toeing in the face of soft data
* Brazil—no easy task ahead
* Saudi Arabia—a new vision to transform the economy

April 22, 2016

Low public debt ratios, large financial buffers, and the sizeable fiscal consolidation being planned, along with a modest recovery in global oil prices, should put fiscal positions on more sustainable footing. Saudi Arabia’s strategy of increasing its oil market share finally appears to be working.

April 18, 2016

The UAE economy has been relatively resilient to the impact of the slump in oil prices. Growth is estimated at 3.5% in 2015, but is likely to moderate to 3.0% in 2016. The sizeable fiscal consolidation efforts should put the fiscal stance on a more sustainable footing in the medium term.

April 14, 2016

Although Kenya has close ties with China in both trade and investment, it has not been impacted by reduced demand for industrial materials that led to a sharp drop in non-agricultural commodity prices. Instead, lower oil prices have helped reduce the current account deficit and boosted growth.

April 11, 2016

The collapse of oil prices has put the economy under heavy strain. With fiscal policy on an unsustainable path, difficult policy choices will have to be made, which will be hard in the current delicate political environment.

March 29, 2016

GCC authorities remain committed to their dollar pegs. Low public debt ratios, large financial buffers, and the sizeable fiscal consolidation underway, combined with a modest recovery in oil prices, should put the fiscal position on a more sustainable footing and allow the pegs to be preserved.