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No Safety Net: The IMF & Diminishing Social Protections in the Middle East

No Safety Net: The IMF & Diminishing Social Protections in the Middle East with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung


This event will be held in person at:
1957 E St NW (Elliott School of International Affairs)
Lindner Family Commons (Room 602)
Washington, DC 20052

Currently, the Arab Region is facing a historical moment similar to that in Latin America at the beginning of the foreign debt crisis in the 1980, when developing and low-income countries were tied up in foreign loans that initially seemed relatively inexpensive and necessary for development and growth.

Today, more than a decade after the region’s major uprisings in 2011, foreign debt service burdens are increasing sharply and further rounds of IMF programs are discussed in many countries across the region. Public austerity and inflation are chipping away people’s earnings and savings.

Publicly, the IMF and the World Bank have adopted a different discourse than that which they espoused in the 1980s and 1990s. This contemporary discourse is grounded in awareness of the ills of inequality of income and of opportunity, and supports imposing international taxes on giant corporations and progressive taxes on the rich. This discourse also ostensibly supports the Sustainable Development Goals and social protection.

In an upcoming publication by the German Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, researchers from Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia evaluated the main IMF-backed policies under the theme of social protection. The point of departure for this discussion is to identify and address the major disparities between the IMF’s public discourse and the Fund’s practice on the ground.


  • Ms. Salma Hussein (Egypt), Research Manager, FES MENA

  • Ms. Boutaina Falsy (Morocco), Independent Public Policy Researcher

  • Mr. Laith Alajlouni (Jordan), Public Policy Consultant

  • Ms. Imene Cherif (Tunisia), Program Coordinator, FES MENA