In its latest Regional Economic Outlook update for the Middle East and North Africa, the International Monetary Fund is projecting growth of 3.1 percent for the MENA region in 2021, lower than any region worldwide and with significant disparities from country to country. The region’s projected growth is also lower than the Fund’s global growth projection of 5.5 percent, as noted in the latest World Economic Outlook.

In order to ensure an equitable distribution of vaccines and to lay the foundation for a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic recovery, the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia director, Jihad Azour, says that providing healthcare systems the resources they need remains the most urgent priority, in addition to bolstering regional and international cooperation, addressing the uneven labor market, strengthening social protections, and fighting corruption.

Join us on Thursday, February 18 from 8:00-8:45 a.m. EST (3:00-3:45 p.m. Beirut) for a fireside chat with Jihad Azour and Maha Yahya to discuss what lies ahead on the path toward recovery as well as Azour’s latest IMF blogpost, Cooperation Critical to Reduce Divergent Paths to Recovery in Middle East and Central Asia. The discussion will be held in Arabic with simultaneous interpretation to English.

Viewers may tune in to the English and Arabic audios via the Center's Facebook and YouTube channels. To submit your questions for the speakers ahead of time, tweet us @CarnegieMEC using #CMECxIMF or use the live chat feature on Facebook and YouTube during the event. For more information, please contact Alex Müller at