Survey of Economic and Social Developments in the Arab Region 2011-2012

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The Survey of Economic and Social Development in the Arab Region 2011-2012 assesses the most recent economic and social developments in the Arab region, using the data that became available by the 2nd quarter of 2012. It found that GDP growth performance between major oil producers and the rest of the Arab region appeared to diverge. While GCC countries’ oil export revenues marked all-time high, the subdued intra-regional tourism, trade and foreign direct investment clearly failed to produce the positive spill-over of oil revenues over the Arab region. It emphasizes that this growth polarization deepens already uncertain prospects of the region's economic and social development, noting that the unemployment rate of the Arab region remains at the highest level world-wide. The Survey concludes that the use of “regional leverage” by articulating regional cooperation frameworks for Arab regional integration is crucial to tackle pressing issues for a constructive economic and social transition of the region.

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The global context and its implications in the ESCWA region

The cautious optimism towards the state of world economy has been increasingly clouded by a series of recent economic events. The concern about a double-dip recession is growing. The world economy is now entering a difficult stage after an initial recovery period from the global recession of 2008-2009. The financial sector is still fragile as the value of assets remains stagnant. The subdued value of financial assets and real estate prevented the corporate and financial sectors from taking risks to expand their activities. Fiscal stimulus was the essential factor in having global demand buoyed for the initial economic recovery. However, with shrinking fiscal space, most Governments initiated fiscal consolidation to various extents by 2011, including fiscal austerity measures in several countries. The global consensus for active fiscal stimulus for economic recovery seen in 2009 was replaced by consensus for fiscal sustainability.


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