IMF on the Middle East

(The New York Times, February 23, 2011)


“Less than 2 weeks ago the IMF’s executive board, its highest body, assessed a North African country’s economy and commended its government for its “ambitious reform agenda.” 


The IMF also welcomed its “strong macroeconomic performance and the progress on enhancing the role of the private sector,” and encouraged the authorities to continue on that promising path.  That country was Libya.  The fund’s mission to Tripoli had somehow omitted to check whether the “ambitious” reform program was based on any kind of popular support.


Libya is not an isolated case.  Tunisia was hailed last September for its “wide-ranging structural reforms” and “prudent macroeconomic management.”  Bahrain was credited in December with a “favorable near-term outlook” after the economy “managed the global crisis well.”  And in Cairo, the IMF directors last April praised the authorities’ response to the crisis as well as their “sound macroeconomic management.” 

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