(MENAFN) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecasted the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region's oil exporting countries to see a 6.6 percent economic growth this year, largely because of a strong economic activity in post-civil-war Libya, Reuters reported.
In its previous semi-annual review in April, the IMF expected a 4.8 percent growth across the oil producing economies of the Middle East and Africa, which is higher than the 3.9 percent expansion in 2011.
Iran, however, was forecasted to contract by 0.9 percent in 2012, due to the international sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme. In April, the IMF expected Iran's economy to expand by 0.4 percent this year.
The IMF also warned that governments of the oil exporters have boosted their expenditures to a level that substantial declines in the price of oil could heavily impact their fiscal positions.
"Despite significant accrued financial buffers, such declines could put at risk ongoing infrastructure investment and growth," it said.
However, geopolitical risks, including those related to Iran, could lead to higher oil prices, the IMF added.
The IMF said that the priority should be to take advantage of high oil prices to diversify economies away from hydrocarbons.