The 2008 financial crisis of the United States of America, which started in the subprime market, has developed into the most severe global economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. What prevented an even more serious downturn was the introduction of unprecedented, coordinated fiscal and monetary stimulus packages in the more developed economics. However, the price tag for the crisis still remains at a record-breaking high. In addition to its severe effects in North America and the European Union countries, the crisis has put pressure on emerging markets worldwide, contributing to fast declines in their stock markets, gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates, oil prices and revenues, commodity exports, portfolio investment, foreign direct investment (EDI), tourism revenues and workers’ remittances. While certain developed countries and a number of large emerging market countries arc now showing some signs of recovery, the effect of the crisis on the member countries of the Economic and Social Commission of Western Asia (ESCWA) has not yet fully unfolded. It is possible that the negative economic and social consequences of the crisis, for example on employment, poverty, health, education, gender and growth will be felt for some time to come, especially given that, so far, the link between growth and employment generation and poverty alleviation in ESCWA member countries has remained weak, despite the recent oil boom period and related spectacular GDP growth performance prior to the crisis.

Related Subject(s): Economic and Social Development
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