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No Oil? Then Don’t Use Debt to Grow

Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia are struggling to attract foreign investment and boost exports. 

Not the best use of remittances.

Not the best use of remittances.

Photographer: Khaled Desouki/AFP


A decade after the international financial crisis and local political upheavals, many of the non-oil exporting nations in the Middle East and North Africa are undergoing a process of redefinition of how they are linked with the global economy. It is not going well.

Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan are becoming more dependent on external borrowing than on foreign direct investments compared to the pre-2008 period. This is visible with declining ratios of FDIs to GDP, in contrast with increasing ratios of foreign debt to GDP and total exports.