The Arab region registered the world’s highest unemployment rate in 2022, about 12 percent, says a UN survey released this weekend.
The Survey of Economic and Social Developments in the Arab Region, however, projects post-Covid-19 economic recovery efforts to prompt a very slight decrease next year — to 11.7pc.
Following an estimated 5.2pc growth in 2022, the Arab region is expected to grow by 4.5pc in 2023 and 3.4pc in 2024.
This outlook, however, “faces many risks and uncertainties, including fears of a new Covid-19 wave, a protracted war in Ukraine and expanding sanctions on the Russian Federation.
Other risk factors include an “economic collapse in some Arab countries suffering from dire socio-economic conditions, and persistence of conflict and political instability.” The survey warns that poverty levels in the Arab world are expected to rise over the next two years, reaching 36pc of the population in 2024.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which conducted the survey, notes that poverty measured against national lines also surged, affecting 130 million people in Arab countries. Excluding Libya and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, more than one-third of the region’s population is affected by poverty, the UN agency warns.
The survey, however, also has a good news for the region. Notwithstanding disruptions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine, the Survey predicts an expected 3.4pc growth next year throughout the Arab region. While inflation rates jumped this year to 14pc, they are predicted to drop to eight and 4.5 per cent, respectively, in the next two years.
Noting that repercussions were not the same for all Arab States, the maintains that Gulf Cooperation Council countries and other oil-exporting ones will continue to benefit from higher energy prices. At the same time, oil-importing nations will suffer from several socioeconomic challenges, including rising energy costs, food supply shortages, and drops in both tourism and international aid inflows.