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Arab Spring ‘Cost Region $600bn’ in Lost Growth, UN Says

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The ‘Arab Spring’ cost the region some 600 billion dollars in lost growth. It is equivalent to 6% of the region’s total GDP between 2011 and 2015, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) estimates. The uprisings, which started in Tunisia, saw leaders toppled in four countries, and led to war in Libya, Syria and Yemen. ESCWA used growth projections made before the uprisings to calculate its figure. It included countries not directly affected by political conflict, but subject to spill-over effects from it, including refugee arrivals, lost remittances and falls in tourism. In Syria, where anti-government protests spiralled into a messy civil war that now involves various foreign powers, GDP and capital losses are equal to $259 billion since 2011, according to ESCWA’s National Agenda for the Future of Syria. In countries where political transitions have occurred, new governments have not made economic reforms required to address “the issues that led to unrest in the first place”, the report says.