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Arsonists as firefighters? Financial crisis in post-COVID MENA and the role of IFIs
22. September 2020, 09:00-10:30 (NYC, Washington, DC) / 14:00-15:30 CET (Algier, Tunis, Rabat) / 15:00- 16:30 CEST/EET (Berlin, Brussels, Cairo) / 16:00-17:30 EEST (Amman, Beirut)

As architects of the globalized world, international financial institutions (IFIs) - particularly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank - exert varying degrees of influence over economic policy in the MENA region.
They have intervened to address economic crises since the 1960s, promoting a deregulated, private sector-led, and integrated global market in exchange for technical assistance, loans, or financial surveillance. Around a decade after the 2008 financial crisis and 2011 Arab uprisings, an appraisal of this approach is due: What have the IMF, the World Bank, and other IFIs accomplished?
Have their recommendations shifted the economic outlook in the region? And if so in what way?
Such a discussion is even more relevant in the light of the global Covid19-crisis, as, as MENA countries are expecting the worst economic downturn since independence and many find themselves in the midst of a fiscal crisis. The importance of this historical moment cannot be clearer: Will the crisis enable a new, more inclusive and just economic system, or could the economic shock further exacerbate previous injustices and structural imbalances? What role should the IFIs play in the mitigation of its socio-economic impacts?
And how have structural adjustments and years of IFI-inspired and induced policies predisposed different countries in the region to confront and contain the Coronavirus?
“Introduction to debates series and presentation of FES IFI study: Thomas Claes, Project Director „Economic Policies for Social Justice”, Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung”

Moderators: Amirah El Haddad, DIE / Thomas Claes, FES

Speakers:
Amr Adly, Assistant Professor, American University Cairo
Bessma Momani, Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo
Ahmed Galal, Chairman of the Board of the MENA H
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