WASHINGTON - The aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings is at a critical juncture and needs to be managed in an orderly way so change benefits everyone, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said political change across the Middle East and North Africa faced headwinds from an economic slowdown across the oil-importing countries, which was pushing up already-high unemployment and increasing social tensions.
Popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa this year have toppled veteran rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and forced Yemen's president to sign away his powers. Syria is grappling with an eight-month-old anti-government protest movement and Bahrain is still dealing with the fallout from a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in March.
"This is naturally a risky and uncertain period," Lagarde said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center think tank in Washington.