International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The pandemic aggravated Tunisia’s long-standing vulnerabilities stemming from persistent fiscal and external imbalances, rising debt, and contingent liabilities from inefficient state-owned enterprises. The crisis is expected to induce the largest contraction in real GDP since independence. The authorities’ targeted response together with higher outlays on wages widened the fiscal deficit. A second Covid-19 wave is underway. The authorities are securing 500,000 doses to start a first campaign of vaccinations in February and are aiming to secure more doses to vaccinate half of the population starting in April–May. Staff expects GDP growth to rebound modestly in 2021, but it could take years before activity returns to pre-crisis levels, especially if large imbalances were not addressed and key reforms delayed. Downside risks dominate and recent protests highlight the level of social tensions, aggravated by Covid-19 restrictions, and particularly among the youth.
Mr. Christopher J. Jarvis, Ms. Gaelle Pierre, Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Dominique Fayad, Alexander de Keyserling, Mr. Babacar Sarr, and Mariusz A. Sumlinski
This IMF Departmental Paper presents the key areas in which countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucasus and Central Asia (MECA) can enhance governance and fight corruption to achieve their economic policy goals. It draws on advances that have already taken hold in the region.
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?