It has been nearly eight months after the Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi made himself the fuse for the Arab Spring. His self-immolation not only toppled Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's president, but generated a wave of action that swept across the Middle East.  

Bouazizi's fatal decision was driven in large part by economics, and in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain issues of food prices and unemployment are also high on the list of protestors' concerns.

But have their protests harmed rather than helped their economic prospects? The Institute of International Finance predicted sharp contractions in the economic output of many of these countries. Are Arab economies on the road to ruin? 

Inside Story, with presenter Teymoor Nabili, discusses with Lahcen Achy, an economist and scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center; Aly Khan Satchu, a financial analyst and CEO of Rich Investments; and Mauritius Wijffels, the chairman of the Melba Group.

This episode of Inside Story aired on Friday, August 12, 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera