Middle East & Africa: Economic overview

March 2017

The economic prospects of countries in the Middle East and Africa are expected to remain weak in 2017, which will be a headwind to upstream investment in the region.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the economy of the MEA to expand by 3.1% on an annual basis in 2017, down from its previous forecast of 3.4%. The agency estimates the region’s economy grew by 3.8% year on year in 2016. Saudi Arabia’s forecast GDP growth has seen one of the IMF’s sharpest downward revisions in the region. The kingdom’s GDP is expected to expand by only 0.4% on an annual basis in 2017 compared with the IMF’s previous forecast of 2%. Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its oil production in line with the recent OPEC agreement is cited as the key reason for the downgrade.

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