The IMF’s MENA Director Masood Ahmed, at the recent launch of the fund’s ‘Toward New Horizons Arab Economic Transformation Amid Political Transitions,’ warned “2014 is likely to be another year of tepid economic activity” for the region’s oil importers with average economic growth “slightly short of 3%.”

Such growth is “inadequate to deal with the fundamental question of generating more jobs,” Mr Ahmed says. And this is without factoring in the short-term risks – such as the risks to Jordan and Lebanon from increased spillover from the Syrian conflict. “Weak confidence… is holding back recovery in terms of private sector confidence associated that is needed to drive the recovery forward,” he says.Without a serious change of course for the ‘Arab countries in transition’ covered in the latest report – Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya—problems could yet get worse given that “unemployment is still running at about 13%... For young people, it is almost double that. That problem is still very much ahead of us.” (CONTINUED - 651 WORDS)