International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks during the IMF economic conference in Marrakesh on January 30, 2018. / AFP / STR
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IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Tuesday that "public dissatisfaction is bubbling up" in the Middle East and North Africa, calling for reforms that "respond faster to the expectations and sometimes to the frustration of the people".The two-day "Opportunities for All" conference brought together senior political and business leaders, young people and representatives of civil society from Arab countries, many of them rocked by economic instability since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.To benefit from IMF loans, countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan have had to reduce their budget deficits, resulting in cost of living rises for their citizens.As a region, the Middle East and North Africa has one of the lowest employment rates in the world, partly because of low women's participation in the workforce, according to a recent IMF report.
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