IMF Warns of Economic Calamity in Middle East from Coronavirus Pandemic

The International Monetary Fund is urging governments in the Middle East to take immediate action to blunt a likely economic setback that could arise from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Jihad Azour, the IMF’s regional director for the Middle East and Central Asia, said in a report Tuesday that the pandemic “has become the largest near-term challenge to the region.”

Azour said the rapid spread of COVID-19, coupled with the lowering of crude oil prices due to the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, will deal a severe blow to economic activity in the region, especially in the tourism and hospitality fields, bringing with it rising joblessness and falling wages.

The IMF says war-torn countries such as Iraq, Sudan and Yemen will be especially vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Voice of America