Arab Economies Incurred $1.2tn Losses Due to Coronavirus

Shoppers are seen in an aisle with subsidized vegetable oils at a government outlet in Cairo, Egypt August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The novel coronavirus pandemic had a harsh economic impact on the Arab economy. This is with total losses so far amounting to about $1.2tn, amid expectations that some 7.1 million workers will lose their jobs.

A report issued by the Arab League confirmed those numbers. It called for the establishment of a crisis fund that could alleviate the repercussions of the force majeure.

The report prepared by the League’s economic affairs department; it shed light on the short and long term repercussions of the virus. Besides, their impact on the sectors of health, agriculture, food and development

The report detailed the losses as follows: $420bn in market capital; $63bn in the GDP of member countries; additional debts of $220bn; and a daily loss of $550mn in oil revenues. Adding to a decline in exports of $28bn; more than $2bn in tariff revenues and loss of about 7.1 million jobs in 2020

The report said that, according to a preliminary evaluation conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the COVID-19 pandemic will have a major impact on labor markets around the world with the soaring unemployment rate.

It added that the health care and food security sectors would be affected the most by the crisis. Besides, the industries of oil, tourism and air transport.

Short-term repercussions

The report examined the short-term repercussions in the Arab world, stating: “Although the situation in the Arab countries is much better compared to the United States, the European Union and China, most countries resorted to precautionary measures to contain the virus… leading to huge losses in the aviation and tourism sectors and the loss of about one million employments and hundreds of thousands of seasonal jobs, in addition to the sharp decline in oil prices.”

The report presented a number of proposals including the establishment of an Arab fund for crises. It also reviews the requirements for providing financial support to member-states. This is by setting more flexible temporary conditions, and postponing outstanding installments during this exceptional period.