The aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings is at a critical juncture and economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa must include all members of society to fulfill the promise of the Arab Spring, according to Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief, who spoke on Tuesday.
This is naturally a risky and uncertain period, Lagarde said, in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center think tank in Washington. While each country in the region must find its own path to change, the over-arching economic goals of the Arab Spring remain clear - higher growth, growth that creates more jobs, and growth that is shared equitably among all strands of society, she added.
The IMF is ready to help finance economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa, she explained, stating that the organization had earmarked $35 billion for five Middle East and North Africa countries. She emphasized that her door remained open and only a request for financial funding was needed.
The Arab spring is poised to unleash the potential of a better future for all, she said, on a positive note.
She noted that the IMF was currently providing technical assistance to countries in the region. It was helping Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia; the assistance, variously, was aimed at making tax systems more equitable, developing modern systems of government payments, improving the financial sector and aiding fuel subsidy reforms.
Lagarde also pointed out the need for governments to break from the past when generalized subsidies were used to appease the population.
The government must provide an enabling environment. It should put in place modern and transparent institutions to encourage accountability and good governance and ensure fair and transparent rules of the game, she said, stressing also that governments needed to end corruption, particularly within their own organizations.