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Mr. Bjoern Rother, Ms. Gaelle Pierre, Davide Lombardo, Risto Herrala, Ms. Priscilla Toffano, Mr. Erik Roos, Mr. Allan G Auclair, and Ms. Karina Manasseh
In recent decades, the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) has experienced more frequent and severe conflicts than in any other region of the world, exacting a devastating human toll. The region now faces unprecedented challenges, including the emergence of violent non-state actors, significant destruction, and a refugee crisis bigger than any since World War II. This paper raises awareness of the economic costs of conflicts on the countries directly involved and on their neighbors. It argues that appropriate macroeconomic policies can help mitigate the impact of conflicts in the short term, and that fostering higher and more inclusive growth can help address some of the root causes of conflicts over the long term. The paper also highlights the crucial role of external partners, including the IMF, in helping MENA countries tackle these challenges.
Mariusz Jarmuzek and Najla Nakhle
Reform of Lebanon’s pension system is indispensable. The country already faces fiscal sustainability risks, which will be compounded in the future by significantly higher pensionrelated spending and liabilities, mainly reflecting adverse demographics. In addition to sustainability issues, the pension system also suffers from equity shortcomings—Lebanon is the only MENA country that does not offer social security for retirees in the private sector. While several reform proposals have been formulated since the early 2000s, none has been implemented to date. Costs mount with every year of delay, so action is required soon to address these challenges.