By Masood Ahmed
(Version in عربي)
The Arab Spring has injected new optimism into the Middle East and North Africa and, if managed well, the historic transitions that are under way will lead to a more prosperous future for the people of the region.
At the same time, the past year and a half has been difficult for the Arab countries in transition. They are facing economic strains as they manage political change and urgent social demands. It is a period when hard choices must be made, and it does not help that this is happening at a time of great turmoil in the global economy.
Throughout this difficult period, the IMF has remained closely engaged. We are advising countries on how to manage shocks to maintain economic stability, ensure that vulnerable households are protected during the transition, and lay the basis for job-creating growth.
We are also providing technical assistance to help build capacity and stronger institutions. In Egypt, for example, on tax reform to improve tax equity; in Libya to better manage its wealth through improved public financial management; and in Tunisia on measures to strengthen the financial sector.
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