How the Current Economic Slowdown Could Turn Into a Catastrophe in the Middle East

Published May 5th, 2020 - 03:00 GMT
How the Current Economic Slowdown Could Turn Into a Catastrophe in the Middle East
Experts are warning that the damage of closures will be long-lasting even if we hurry into reopening countries. (Shutterstock)

As much as I would like to spread hope that the world will soon combat the coronavirus and life will be even better than it was prior to 2020, all predictions seem to go the other way around warning of a severely hard year.

Entering the world's third month of lockdown and slow business activity in the wake of COVID-19, we have already witnessed several "historic" days in the markets, with stocks and oil prices crashing unprecedently. 

Yet, experts are warning that the damage of closures will be long-lasting even if we hurry into reopening countries. A recovering business will need lots of hard work to reverse the backdrops suffered by each economic sector.

According to the International Labour Organization, industries including garment, food and agriculture, tourism, civil aviation, shipping, education, health, and many others have all been impacted by COVID-19 in a way or another, with investments shrinking, projects paused, production on hold, and massive layoffs throwing the fate of millions of people into disarray.

Unemployment rates are, particularly, a very dangerous signal pointing at how far and bad the economic crisis can get. With millions of people losing their source of living, we can only expect the world to be under enormous pressure due to scarcity of resources.

Consequently, the number of poor will be spiking more than ever all across the world and we will be left with very limited options.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has warned that "more than 260 million people will face starvation – doubling last year's figures."

Even more frightening, the WFP director David Beasley made a very alarming statement, in which he clarified that the number of countries that might be in the imminent danger of famine might surpass 35. "There is a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself," Beasley added.

Here in the Middle East, we need to take these figures more seriously than the rest of the world, not only because oil prices continue to plunge affecting our strongest economies, but also because of our low rank when it comes to food security.

Due to dry and hot weather in most of its regions, the Middle East wasn't cut for agriculture, especially when we take the lack of water resources into consideration.

In addition to this, government policies have for years focused on other service sectors instead of planning for a more food secure future, making the region one of the most vulnerable to get hit with a potential famine.

International organizations are now sending very alarming warnings that if a global large-scale stance isn't taken to support communities at risk, the world could be on the brink of a new humanitarian catastrophe similar to the post-WWII one.


© 2000 - 2021 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

You may also like