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Ms. Sena Eken, Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Ms. Susan Fennell, and Mr. Jean-Pierre Chauffour

Abstract

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region covers the enormous area extending from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan in Central Asia and from the Mediterranean littoral to the southern boundaries of the Sahara Desert. The region, defined in this pamphlet to include members of the Arab League, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Israel, comprises 22 countries with a population of 300 million (Box 1). Its size and population alone make the region economically significant, and this significance is enhanced by its vast human, financial, and natural-resource endowments. It is, moreover, strategically located, enjoys long-established economic and financial links with industrial countries, and boasts a respected tradition of trade. Yet, notwithstanding policy gains in recent years, several MENA countries are yet to exploit fully their economic potential, as stagnant per capita growth and underutilized trade and investment opportunities indicate. Indeed, some countries in the region are failing to benefit significantly from the momentous changes now taking place in the world economy.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper discusses events related to creation of the IMF. The paper highlights that representatives of 45 countries met at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, a summer resort in the northeastern part of the United States, to prepare the final texts of the Articles of Agreement of the IMF and of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The paper also discusses activities of the IMF in Latin America, highlighting that the Latin American countries offer a rich variety of economic experience, ranging from examples of financial stability and sustained economic growth to chronic difficulty or acute crisis.