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World Bank: Six countries lost $35bn due to Syrian war and ISIS

December 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Countries east of the Mediterranean Sea have sustained economic losses amounting to $35 billion due to the Syrian war and the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), the World Bank revealed.

The countries include Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

In a study by the World Bank, a copy of which was obtained by the Anadolu Agency today, the Bank reported that the overall economic size of these countries could have grown by $35 billion if the war had not erupted. The report also explained that the total cost of the war is equivalent to Syria’s GDP in 2007.

The World Bank said the losses were not evenly distributed as some countries were affected more by the wars than the others as they felt the brunt of the direct economic costs.

Syria and Iraq’s per capita losses amounted to 23 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

The embargo on trade with Syria is a major factor behind the direct costs, and this was followed by a decline in the labour force, particularly in skilled labour, due to casualties, refugees leaving the country, destruction of infrastructure, and a spike in the cost of trade activity in conflict areas.

Other countries also sustained losses in their GDP as the flow of refugees into Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey resulted in more consumption and investment as well as a larger labour force.

The study added that in all cases, the average per capita income grew by less than the population growth rate and that the war has affected living standards. The average per capita income declined by 11 per cent in Lebanon and by 1.5 per cent in Turkey, Egypt and Jordan compared to the levels that could have been reached if the war did not break out.

The report noted that the assessment did not take into consideration the financial costs of providing basic services to refugees in the host countries or the cost of allowing refugees to use the infrastructure facilities, which may be very large for countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, as they have received the largest numbers of refugees.

It also did not take into consideration the future cost arising from the large number of deaths and the reconstruction of the physical assets and human capital, which is likely to be very high, especially in Syria.