ESCWA: 'Arab Spring' cost Middle East economies $614bn

ESCWA's $614bn figure equal to six percent of GDP of regional economies from 2010 Tunisia protests to end of last year.

    The so-called Arab Spring of 2011 has cost the region's economies an estimated $614bn of growth because of governmental changes, continuing conflict and falling oil prices, according to a UN agency.

    The figure from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), equivalent to six percent of GDP up to the end of last year, is based on growth projections made before the revolutions started.

    Published on Thursday, it is the first estimate of its kind by a global economic body.

    In December 2010, protests broke out in Tunisia which led to the first of the series of revolutions that became known as the Arab Spring, which later toppled four leaders and mired Yemen, Syria and Libya in war.

    READ MORE: My Arab Spring - Tunisia's revolution was a dream

    In its sixth year of conflict, Syria alone has suffered GDP and capital losses of $259bn since 2011, according to estimates from the National Agenda for the Future of Syria, another UN programme.

    Oil prices began to slide in mid-2014 and fell to 13-year lows this January, hitting producer countries such as Saudi Arabia, and others including Lebanon that rely heavily on remittances from citizens working in Arab Gulf states.

    Five years on: After the Arab Spring

    Mohamed el Moctar Mohamed el Hacene, ESCWA's economic development director, said the oil downturn would probably benefit producer countries.

    "They will put in place economic reforms leading to real diversification," he told Reuters news agency.

    Meanwhile, the region needed more financial support from the international community.

    "We have seen in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Balkans the support they got in order to recover after conflict. We have not seen so far such support occurring for the Arab region," Hacene said.

    According to ESCWA, there has been some progress on social indicators, such as gender equality in Middle East.

    READ MORE: My Arab Spring - Egypt's silent protest

    "However, countries in and affected by political transition and conflict have regressed on a plethora of socioeconomic indicators over the past five years," the report stated.

    The Survey of Economic and Social Developments in the Arab Region 2015-2016 uses recent data to assess the destructive impact of instability and conflict, including on growth and economic output.

    It also draws on research by ESCWA on migration, social developments, the impact of conflict, women's empowerment and specific country-level analysis.

    After the Arab Spring: A Tunisian artist's view

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News And Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.