In 2017, the world economy strengthened, and global GDP growth reached 3.0 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent in the preceding year mainly triggered by the performance of developed countries. In the Arab region, there is a slight decline in growth rates from 2.6 per cent in 2016 to 2.3 per cent in 2017 from the year before. However, a gradual improvement is anticipated with GDP growth forecast to be 2.9 per cent for 2018 and 3.1 per cent for 2019 for the Arab region.
A polarization of the economic and social developments was observed in 2017 between sub-regions and in varying degrees between countries of the Arab region amidst adopting a bundle of economic, social and fiscal reforms aiming at prompting competitiveness and diversity. Geopolitical tensions and their spillover effects remain a serious issue elevated by a number of on-going intra-regional diplomatic rifts in the region. Labour market dynamics and gender equality in the Arab region continue to remain challenging. However, most countries in the region embarked on implementing ambitious national development strategies to support in surpassing these challenges and uncertainties.