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Brookings experts on the implications of COVID-19 for the Middle East and North Africa

Authors: Tarik M. Yousef, Ranj Alaaldin, Geneive Abdo, Ali Fathollah-Nejad, Omar H. Rahman, Yasmina Abouzzohour, Galip Dalay, Nader Kabbani, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Noha Aboueldahab

Affiliation: Brookings Doha Center

Organization/Publisher: Brookings Institution

Date/Place: March 26, 2020/ Doha, Qatar

Type of Literature: Opinion Editorial

Word Count: 3871 

Link: https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/brookings-experts-on-the-implications-of-covid-19-for-the-middle-east-and-north-africa/

Keywords: MENA, COVID-19, Crisis, Economy, Geopolitics

Brief: 

This opinion editorial published by the Brookings Doha Center is a round-up of different outlooks for the MENA region by its staff. The authors conclude that the GCC countries will fare well in the long term since their flagship carriers will receive support and the group has already declared a $97 billion stimulus package. The countries have handled the pandemic relatively well, with low cases and strict control. Alongside the GCC, Iran will remain stable even though the country is the region’s pandemic epicenter. This is because the Iranian regime has already been under a state of emergency for a long time and none of its policies have changed in regards to the region or Western powers. However, policy experts predict the crisis will make Iran further dependent on China and Russia. The Maghreb, Turkey and the Levant look to be facing a serious recession for different reasons. The region as a whole is faced with two major challenges: First, oil prices are very low; Second, the region’s trading partner, Europe is also headed towards a recession. These two create a perfect storm for a downturn in tourism and trade. The region as a whole is facing a combination of slow or even negative growth with an increase in authoritarianism and heavy governmental surveillance. The Coronavirus crisis has thus far been best handled by the GCC and Turkey. 

By: M. Üveys Han, Senior Research Associate

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