The Economic Impact of The “Arab Spring” Uprisings

The Economic Impact of The “Arab Spring” Uprisings

The Economic Impact of The “Arab Spring” Uprisings

The ‘Arab Spring’ has been define as people trying to shake off years of bondage of oppression.

 Suddenly, to be an Arab has become a good thing. People all over the Arab world feel a sense of pride in shaking off decades of cowed passivity under dictatorships that ruled with no deference to popular wishes.

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 An area that was a byword for political stagnation is witnessing a rapid transformation that has caught the attention of the world.

 Suddenly, to be an Arab has become a good thing. People all over the Arab world feel a sense of pride in shaking off decades of cowed passivity under dictatorships that ruled with no deference to popular wishes.

While we entirely disagree with the whole notion that the “Arab Spring” will lead to freedom (especially in Egypt), we will put aside politics and look at the economic costs associated with the uprisings.

 There is an old phrase that says, “Freedom isn’t free.” The Arab Spring movement has had a significant financial cost for the nations involved in the movement. According to an article written by Peter Apps, and published October 14, 2011 by Reuters, the costs have been in the $55 billion range.

Public finances eroded by another $35.3 billion as revenues slumped and costs rose.

Tourism in the Arab world has also taken a major financial hit. A report published by details some of the financial losses the tourist industry has suffered.

The ongoing political turmoil in certain Arab countries hit the tourism sector. So far, these states have lost $96 billion since the start of the Arab Spring, 18 percent of the losses in the tourism sector, said Bandar Al-Fuhaid president of the Arab Tourism Organization.

Even the United States may share some of the financial costs associated with Arab Spring. As recently as February 2012, President Obama proposed $800 million in aid for Arab Spring. A report published by Reuters provided the details of the President’s proposal.

The White House announced plans on Monday to help “Arab Spring” countries swept by revolutions with more than $800 million in economic aid, while maintaining U.S. military aid to Egypt.

In his annual budget message to Congress, President Barack Obama asked that military aid to Egypt be kept at the level of recent years — $1.3 billion — despite a crisis triggered by an Egyptian probe targeting American democracy activists.

The other side of the economic issue is the financial windfall Arab Spring has created for some of the oil producing nations in the region. The turmoil in the nations affected by Arab Spring, along with the tension between the United States and Iran, has driven oil prices up to record levels. The Times of India published a report on October 14, 2011 detailing the financial benefit some oil producing countries have experienced as a result of Arab Spring.

But as the major oil producers such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait avoided significant unrest — often through increasing handouts as oil prices rose — they saw their GDP grow. Oil prices rocketed from around $90 a barrel of Brent crude at the start of the year to just short of $130 in May before retreating to around $113 now.

“As a result, the overall impact of the ‘Arab Spring’ across the Arab realm has been mixed but positive in aggregate terms,” the report estimated, saying overall the year to September saw some $38.9 billion added to regional productivity.

There are other significant costs associated with Arab Spring. There has been significant loss of life, thousands of people fleeing the violence seeking refuge in unaffected nations across the region and Europe, and billions of dollars spent on military munitions and equipment.

As the violence continues in Syria and other nations, the cost associated with people trying to gain a level of self-determination will continue to rise. The economic consequences of Arab Spring will be felt across the globe for many years to come.

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