The Arab Spring that swept the Middle East last year dramatically altered the political landscape of the region but also generated considerable uncertainty over the future of economic policies and economic reforms in the Arab world, according to a new issue brief released by the Rafik Hariri Center at the Atlantic Council.

Arab countries in transition have been developing their own post-Arab Spring economic models that include a variety of populist measures. Using Egypt as a case study, the authors examine the economic policies the new Egyptian government will likely adopt.

Authors Mohsin Khan, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, and Svetlana Milbert, assistant director at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East , present recommendations for the international community for engaging in Egypt.  Khan and Milbert argue that with the help of the international community Egypt can move towards a market-oriented economy integrated with the world, combining populist policies with continuing economic reforms. The key will be for Egypt to sign on to an IMF program as soon as possible. 

The benefits of an IMF program, aside from the financing it provides, Khan and Milbert suggest, is to send a positive message to domestic businessmen, investors, and donors that the government is serious in delivering on its commitments to macroeconomic stability and structural reforms.

The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East seeks to produce original analysis of the forces transforming the region, as well as policy recommendations for the United States and Europe about how to promote closer and more productive relations with the region. The Hariri Center recognizes the substantial linkages between political and economic affairs, and will develop policy initiatives to promote successful democratic transitions and greater convergence among the Middle East, the United States, and Europe.

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