Freedom has a price
Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa is putting the brakes on economic growth in the region that had been expected to accelerate this year, the World Bank
Justin Lin, the World Bank's chief economist, said that research by the development lender's economists showed that economic output in the Middle East and North Africa, was paying a heavy price for the recent wave of anti-regime upheaval.
In its January economic forecasts, the World Bank projected that the region, recovering from the 2009 global downturn, would see gross domestic product (GDP) growth rise from a 3.3 percent rate in 2010 to a 4.3 percent pace in 2011.
"Our estimates show that the impact on the countries, like Egypt and Tunisia, can be a drop of about three percentage point reduction" in their GDP growth, Lin told reporters in a briefing on a new bank report on conflict and development.
"For the region, the Middle East and North African countries, the impact can be about 2.4 percentage point," he said.
Still, "for the global impact, it's not much" because the size of the MENA economy is not large compared on a global scale.
"However, if the oil price, the oil supplies, is affected to a significant degree... then we can have a larger impact," Lin said.
Lin spoke to reporters ahead of the publication Sunday of the Bank's 2011 World Development Report, which focuses on conflict and security issues and their impact on economic health and poverty.
"This launch is most timely in view of what's happened in the Middle East and North Africa in the past two months," he said.
"As you know, conflict, security are not conventional topics for the World Bank and other international development institutions. However, conflict and security are closely related to development."
The report comes in advance of the bank's spring meetings this week with its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF is due to publish its global economic forecasts Monday.