Survey of Economic and Social Developments in the Arab Region 2011-2012

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The Survey of Economic and Social Development in the Arab Region 2011-2012 assesses the most recent economic and social developments in the Arab region, using the data that became available by the 2nd quarter of 2012. It found that GDP growth performance between major oil producers and the rest of the Arab region appeared to diverge. While GCC countries’ oil export revenues marked all-time high, the subdued intra-regional tourism, trade and foreign direct investment clearly failed to produce the positive spill-over of oil revenues over the Arab region. It emphasizes that this growth polarization deepens already uncertain prospects of the region's economic and social development, noting that the unemployment rate of the Arab region remains at the highest level world-wide. The Survey concludes that the use of “regional leverage” by articulating regional cooperation frameworks for Arab regional integration is crucial to tackle pressing issues for a constructive economic and social transition of the region.



Socioeconomic trends and developments in the ESCWA region

Since late 2010, the ESCWA region has been coloured by a series of political and social events known as the Arab Spring. Social unrest and political transitions were witnessed in several ESCWA member countries. A political transition often requires an institutional reconstruction with economic implications. However, even those countries on the path towards political transition, namely Egypt and Yemen, had not yet been engaged in institutional reconstructions. The incomplete political transitions and institutional reconstructions leave space for further social unrest in the region. The perceived instability in political and social situations caused stagnation in the intraregional flow of funds and tourism, vital channels for energy-importing countries to benefit from an oil boom. The weakened spillover channels between GCC countries and more diversified economies (MDEs) resulted in a divergence in GDP growth rates among ESCWA member countries.


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