The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Fact Sheet: G-8 and the Middle East and North Africa

Recognizing the historic changes underway in the Middle East and North Africa, President Obama joined with G-8 leaders, the Prime Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia, the Secretary General of the Arab League, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank to launch the “Deauville Partnership” with the people of the Middle East and North Africa.
 
Building on the new economic vision that the President laid out on March 19, the United States will work with other G-8 leaders, international financial institutions and UN agencies, countries willing to contribute to democratization and modernization in the region, and the private sector to achieve common goals to support transitions in the region.  The Partnership is based on two pillars:
 

  • A Political Process.  This process is intended to support the democratic transition and foster governance reforms, notably the fight against corruption and the strengthening of the institutions needed to ensure transparency and accountable government.
     
  • An Economic Framework.  This framework is intended to support sustainable and inclusive growth and to support Partnership countries in the economic and social reforms that they will undertake, particularly to create jobs and enshrine the fair rule of law.  The framework also aims to ensure that short-term economic stability underpins the challenge of transition to stable democracies.

 
Democratization and a broadening of economic opportunity go hand in hand, and the United States will work with Partnership countries to develop an economic agenda to support these objectives.  In the short term, Partnership countries will work to support economic stabilization to ensure that instability does not undermine the process of political reform, and that social cohesion and macroeconomic stability are maintained.  Over the medium-to-long term, the United States will work to support a broadening of economic opportunity for the people of the region.
 
Economic Stabilization.  Egypt and Tunisia had positive economic outlooks before recent unrest but are facing a series of economic dislocations associated with the transition.  G-8 leaders welcomed assessments by the IMF and look forward to its continued engagement with countries in the region.  G-8 leaders:

  • Called on the IMF to respond with the necessary financial support to help meet the external financing needs of countries in the region committed to economic stability and a macroeconomic framework.
     
  • Welcomed the joint action plan that multilateral development banks (MDBs) presented and called on MDBs to deliver enhanced, frontloaded and coordinated support to Partnershcp Countries based on strong economic programs to strengthen governance and bolster the business climate.   G-8 leaders also recognize the role that regional players can play in helping to mitigate near-term financial pressures.

 
Broadening Economic Opportunity over the Medium-to-Long Term.  While Egypt and Tunisia registered economic growth over the past decade, these gains were not widely disbursed.   Over the medium and long term, the United States and other members of the G-8 commit to support Partnership countries in addressing underlying economic challenges in order to broaden economic opportunity.  To achieve these goals the G-8 will:
 

  • Rely on repositioned and coordinated multilateral development banks’ actions.
  • Leverage the experience of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in accompanying economic transition.

 
Changing the Scale of Trade and Investment Integration.  G-8 leaders committed to supporting the integration of the Partnership countries in the regional and global economy through increased trade and inward investment to the region. In this regard, G-8 leaders:
 

  • Encouraged and agreed to support through bilateral and multilateral channels the efforts of MENA countries to bolster further regional trade and investment integration, including through trade facilitation, reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers, access to the service sector, the promotion of direct investments, and regulatory convergence.
     
  • Offered to consider additional support through, inter alia, improved market access opportunities, including the following initiatives:

 
o   As President Obama outlined on May 19, the United States will launch a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa.  This will facilitate more trade within the region, build on existing agreements to promote integration with other markets, and open the door for those countries that adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a high-profile regional trade arrangement.
 
o   The European Union (EU) will reinvigorate and strengthen its neighborhood policy towards Partnership countries to provide greater support to those engaged in building democracies.  The EU is considering launching negotiations on trade and economic integration partnerships with them, which will bring them progressively closer to the EU single market.

Committing to develop the Partnership, to monitor the process of transition, and to ensure that reform is matched by the response of the international communities, G-8 leaders asked senior officials of their foreign and finance ministries to meet in coming months to define the framework of the Partnership and to take this work forward.  G-8 leaders agreed to assess the Partnership at their next meeting under the chairmanship of the United States in 2012.

White House Shareables