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‘Arab Spring’ to Cost $800 Billion

Middle Eastern economies to lose an estimated $800 billion due to instability.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/10/2013, 10:46 AM

Egyptian protesters throw stones towards riot police during a demonstration
Egyptian protesters throw stones towards riot police during a demonstration
AFP photo

The Arab Spring will cost Arab countries roughly $800 million, according to a report by Dubai-based economists with the banking giant HSBC.

Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria, where the Arab Spring uprisings led to leaders’ depositions or civil war, were, unsurprisingly, among the hardest-hit countries. Jordan, Lebanon and Bahrain were also estimated to have suffered serious financial losses due to political turmoil.

The seven countries’ GDPs will be roughly 35% lower than they would have been without the Arab Spring uprisings, analysts said. Cumulative economic output from 2011 to 2015 will be slightly over $2 trillion, in place of $2.9 trillion, they estimated.

Not all Middle Eastern countries have suffered losses, however. According to Bloomberg news, citing the report, “The economic slowdown has widened the wealth gap between the seven countries and Gulf Arab states, where a windfall from energy exports helped stimulate growth and allowed Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to extend aid to countries like Egypt and Tunisia engulfed by Arab Spring protests."

The UAE economy could grow as much as 4.3 percent in 2013, HSBC said. Egypt’s economy was predicted to grow by 3 percent, although a U.S. decision to cut aid to the country could change that.

Libya’s economy is expected to grow by just 0.7 percent – down from a forecast of over 15 percent just three months earlier. The dramatic change was due to recent protests and strikes which have affected oil exports.