Tightening liquidity, trade tensions and ongoing structural issues mean that Middle Eastern nations are facing a multitude of challenges, according to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) regional director.
"The matrix of risks has local or regional components as well as international components," Jihad Azour, director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), told CNBC.
"On the international side, the increased tension on trade could have an impact on the region, especially indirectly. The tightening of global financial conditions, if interest rates will continue to go up and liquidity will be less available, this will affect countries with a high level of debt — mainly oil importing countries where the average debt exceeds 80 percent (of gross domestic product)," Azour said, speaking to CNBC's Hadley Gamble on Monday.
"Last but not least, some countries have succeeded in implementing reforms but what is important is to keep the momentum there and to address some of the structural issues," he said. "This region needs to create at least 25 million jobs for the young generation in the next five years," he said.
Azour's comments come as the IMF released a report on the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) region on Wednesday. The IMF states in the research that oil price uncertainty, the tightening of financial conditions and regional conflicts were all tangible risks for the growth outlook.
It advocates a raft of changes, ranging from energy subsidy reforms and public wage bill reforms, to implementing fairer taxation practices.