How much is the Arab Spring cost for the region?

The Arab Spring cost $614 billion in lost growth to Arab countries, a new UN survey has found.

The report, the first of its kind by a major economic body, estimates that conflicts in the region between 2011 and 2015 led to a net loss of $613.8 billion in economic activity, equivalent to 6% of the region’s GDP.

To reach the figure, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) used growth projections made before 2011. The calculation includes direct and indirect effects of the conflicts, including refugee arrivals and falls in tourism.

The ESCWA also calculated that countries in conflict since 2011 and countries experiencing spill-over together have had a fiscal balance shortfall of $243.1 billion, $217.9 billion more than had been projected.

“The economic and political uncertainty that has characterised the Arab region in the wake of the 2011 transitions and upheaval continues to restrain the region’s prospects for growth, job creation and stability,” the ESCWA says in the survey.

See video here.

In December 2010, 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze after having  his vegetable cart confiscated by a Tunisia official who slapped him and spat in his face.

The incident caused long-simmering frustrations over injustice, poverty and the greed of the political elite to spill over into protests, which were brutally subdued.


The sociopolitical events sparked by the Tunisian events, which became collectively known as the Arab Spring, has resulted in instability and, in Libya, Syria and Yemen, war.

“Conflicts have worsened other economic and social indicators, such as debt, unemployment, corruption and poverty. The international refugee crisis has placed a strain on communities that have lost populations, on countries coping with refugee influxes, and above all on the refugee populations themselves, which suffer from poor health and malnutrition, and have limited access to employment and education,” the ESCWA says.


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