Daily Management Review

Economic losses from pandemic in Arab countries hit $150B


The economic losses in the Arab States due to the pandemic have exceeded $150 billion, said Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (LAS).

Abdelrahman Abdelazeem
Abdelrahman Abdelazeem
"GDP in the Arab region is expected to decline by 6%, economic losses are estimated at $150 billion, approximately 17 million people lost their jobs and another 15 million were pushed into poverty," he said during a video conference with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and heads of regional organizations.

The debt grew by a further $220 billion, which is required to service and repay foreign debt. The pandemic, said LAS Secretary General, "has placed a heavy additional burden on the Arab region, which is already burdened by wars, armed conflicts, refugees, displaced persons and other huge structural problems affecting the security and stability of many of its countries.

He called for joint international and regional efforts to ensure rapid, equitable, and comprehensive distribution of vaccines, and for emergency financing of vaccine supplies to developing and least developed countries. He also called on countries and international lenders to reduce the debts of least developed countries.

In April, the Group of Twenty (G20) granted the world's poorest countries the right to suspend external sovereign debt payments, including servicing, until the end of this year. At least 46 low-income countries have already benefited from this initiative. 

On Sunday, following the G20 Summit, it was announced that the deferral of debt service payments by countries will be extended to the end of June 2021. In addition, the G20 committed to helping the countries most affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. In particular, the leaders assured that two billion doses of vaccines would be distributed worldwide, and that they would be delivered to poor countries in the first place.

source: reuters.com