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03 December 2023

'Arab Spring' economies to worsen in short term

By Staff

The economies of Arab countries undergoing political changes known as the 'Arab Spring' are expected to worsen in the short term and this should prompt them to draw up a road map for reforms, a prominent banker said.

While political changes were relatively rapid, economic policies will take time before any results can be felt by the people, said Henry Azzam is the Chairman of Deutsche Bank for the Middle East and North Africa.

Writing in the London-based Saudi Arabic language daily 'Al Hayat', Azzam urged Arab government to stop “giving bright promises which only serve to raise the ceiling of expectations by their people.”

“Economic condition in these countries could deteriorate before they improve during the transitional stage…implementation of stated economic policies will take time and this should prompt governments to chalk out a road map and a clear framework to achieve the aspired results,” he said.

Azzam, author of several books on Arab economies, said new Arab governments can tackle corruption, upgrade transparency, support small and medium enterprises, ensure better social protection, trim debt and reduce poverty in a relatively short period of time.

“But implementation of economic policies announced during the transitional stage will take time before their full results began to be felt,” he said.

“Managing the expectations of the public, particularly the youth, will help governments persuade them to be patient and accept sacrifices in the short term in order to reach a better economic and social situation in the future.”