Office of the Chief Economist - Middle East & North Africa

April 14, 2022

Reality Check: Forecasting Growth in the Middle East and North Africa in Times of Uncertainty

This edition of the World Bank MENA Economic Update estimates that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s economies will grow by 5.2% in 2022, the fastest rate since 2016. However, uncertainty reigns with the unpredictable course of the war in Ukraine and the scientific uncertainty about the evolutionary path of the virus that causes COVID-19. The economic recovery may be uneven as regional averages mask broad differences between countries. Oil producers may benefit from elevated energy prices along with higher vaccination rates for COVID-19, while fragile countries lag. Per capita GDP, which is a more accurate measure of people’s standard of living, barely exceeds pre-pandemic levels due to a lackluster performance for most countries in 2020-2021. If these forecasts materialize, 11 out of 17 MENA economies may not recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa possess all the ingredients they need to leapfrog into the digital future. Their well-educated youth have already adopted new digital and mobile technologies, but, this is still in its infancy. Seizing the opportunities that the digital economy offers the MENA region will require a big push. Policymakers will need to work on multiple fronts. The sooner they start, the greater the chance that today’s young people can overcome economic exclusion and gain more opportunities to realize their—and their region’s—full potential.

World Bank Group


The MENA Chief Economist Seminar Series is a regular event organized to shed light on and debate the latest research relevant to the Middle East and North Africa. The MENA Chief Economist Seminar Series are held in the World Bank offices in Washington, DC and are open to the public. If you’d like to attend, please send a request to


MENA Chief Economist Seminar Series




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