The political economy of debt and adjustment in Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon
Date(s) - 04/14/2023
10:00 am - 11:00 am
The Middle East Institute
Several countries in the MENA region have been facing financial crises of unprecedented gravity. The MENA Commission on Stabilization and Growth Report describes how debt ratios started rising after the Arab Uprisings as fiscal policies became more expansionary, and how this was further precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war, and the rise in global interest rates. The financial crises are especially acute in Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia, where external shocks have exacerbated deeply embedded structural weaknesses. The three countries have lost access to international capital markets, and financial pressures are leading to devaluation, fiscal austerity, and inflation.
The discussion will focus on the politics of internal and external adjustments. How are these countries managing the crisis and considering distributing the burden of adjustment internally? What is the role of international financial institutions in these cases? How has the rise of the GCC impacted the oil importers in the region? What effects are adjustment policies having on state-society and state-business relations? What are the geopolitical implications of the debt crisis for the region? The Middle East Institute and the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center are pleased to invite an expert panel to discuss the latest report from the Finance for Development Lab and probe these questions.
Director of Research, Finance for Development Lab, Paris School of Economics
Deputy Director, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
Mirette F. Mabrouk
Senior Fellow and Founding Director of the Egypt Program, Middle East Institute
Fellow, Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center
Paul Salem, moderator
President & CEO, Middle East Institute