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M-E set for steady recovery in 2010: John Sfakianakis

CHAUDHURY DOHA THEWorld Bank (WB) was trying its best to help the world ride out the financial crisis, allocating more resources to debt-ridden countries and monitoring private and public spending, said Dr Farrukh Iqbal, World Bank Director for the Gulf region at the 10th Doha Forum.

Speaking on the topic of, “Global Economic Recovery and the Middle East” he pointed out that the World Bank was trying to make funds available in all sectors and putting a lot of money in the infrastructure sector.

In 2008, the bank gave loans of $11 billion for infrastructure development in various countries raising the amount in 2009 to $18 billion.

In all, the World Bank gave loans totalling $68 billion in 2009 to help tackle the financial crisis and doubled its resource lending to $4.5 billion for Iraq, he added.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other international financial services are committed to tackle this crisis and generated huge revenues to help the countries struggling with the crisis.’’ Apart from this, soft loans were given to the countries facing food crisis and attention was focused on the problems faced by the poor even in the Middle East, Iqbal said adding that attempt was made to maintain food subsidy in the region.

John Sfakianakis of Banque Saudi Fransi and Chief Middle East Economist, Credit Agricole CIB, said that the Middle East looked better and would see slow but steady recovery in 2010.

The crisis in the Gulf region was managed with the sovereign support as there were no bank failures in this region, he added.

He also said: “The Middle East economy will recover fast if oil prices reach $75 per barrel and tourists continue to visit the region.

Currently, Egypt is doing well in the tourism sector but if the number of Europeans visiting the MENA region drops it may create problems for the region’s economic recovery.” Dr Elena Panaritis, an economist and member of the Greek Parliament, highlighted the financial problems being faced by Greece, blaming the badly regulated banking sector and poor industrial development as the major causes of this.

The economy was not well managed and the country’s GDP reached -2 to 3 percent because of deflation, she added.

“The country will recover if the economy is restructured and if the European Union helps Greece with all means in getting out of the debt trap, Dr Elena opined.

Dr Mashhour Mourad, managing director, ICG Investment & Financial Consulting Group in Saudi Arabia, said: “The Middle East countries will recover in few years, and so for as Saudi Arabia is concerned, it has no financial crisis as such and there is zero unemployment in the country.

Our companies are doing well as demand for oil is increasing and there is a construction boom in the country.”

source :-www.qatar-tribune.com
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