Saudi-UN report highlights Arab countries’ slowdown in growth

A UN report revealed the deterioration of the economic situation in the least developed Arab countries in Western Asia (ESCWA), namely Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania and Yemen, and the prospects for growth in 2020 have declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of instability.
The conflicts in these countries have caused the displacement of large numbers of people who are in dire need of assistance. This is the highlight of the report issued by ESCWA in partnership with the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen, entitled “The Least Developed Arab Countries: Development Challenges and Opportunities”.
According to the report, growth rates in the four Arab countries have been marked by a significant decline over the past decade. In Somalia, per capita, national income has decreased continuously since 2010, while both Sudan and Yemen have seen very large declines since the middle of the last decade.
GDP growth collapsed in Yemen, with real output contracting by 50% between 2014 and 2020. Sudan also recorded a sharp decline in growth in 2019 due to the political turmoil in the country that year.
The report indicates that the main driver of growth in all these countries is private consumption, followed by government consumption, while factors such as private investment, which usually lead to significant economic development, did not play any significant role.
Faced with this reality, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti called for establishing the link between humanitarian action, development and peace as a foundation for all charitable work, especially in countries affected by chronic conflicts.
“Humanitarian aid is urgent, but it must be provided in a long-term sustainable framework that leads to investment in development directly and quickly, and thus contributes to achieving peace,” She said.
Dashti indicated that the priority should be to end the conflict, alleviate the suffering of the population and stop undermining the work of public institutions and destroying infrastructure in Arab countries.
The program aims to unify and integrate development efforts to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of grants and projects provided by the Kingdom to Yemen within the international development cooperation system and to assist the Yemeni government in achieving economic recovery and social prosperity.

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