The US-led war on Iraq could cost as much as trillion dollars in lost Gross Domestic Product in Arab countries, asserted Mervat Tallawi, executive secretary of the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), which convened Monday, April 14, for its 22nd annual session in Beirut, Lebanon.
Tallawy added that the previous 1990-91 Gulf War in Iraq had been directly responsible for losses amounting to some $600 billion. She added that between four and five million job opportunities had been lost following the previous Gulf War, a figure expected to rise to six to seven million jobs lost as a result of the current war.
Assessing the devastating toll that conflict and instability had taken on the Arab World’s human, physical and financial resources, Tallawy told the gathering of regional economic and development leaders that “in the past ten years, average per capita income in the Arab region has been the lowest in the world, largely because of the fall in the price of oil."
According to ESCWA, the region's woes are also the result of "a fall in interest rates, an increase in military spending, which reached double the international average, a fall in tourist and transport income, particularly among airlines, a rise in the cost of insurance and reinsurance as well as a decrease in trade between Arab countries,”
"A dark cloud is covering the whole world, and the Arab region in particular,” Tallawy said, adding that over the years, war and civil strife have conspired to divert the resources and energies of many ESCWA members from their development objectives.
ESCWA member states include Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian Authority (PA), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates (UAE)and Yemen. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )