The Syrian war and the subsequent emergence and spread of Daesh captured the world’s attention and transformed the Levant in ways one could not have imagined prior to 2011, the World Bank reported.
As the numbers of dead and of refugees and internally displaced kept climbing, and as families were torn apart and neighborhoods were turned into war zones, economies slumped and regional economic ties broke down.
The shock of the war has changed the region in profound ways, yet no one has done a systematic evaluation of its economic effect, the bank reported in a study.
In a recently released working paper, the World Bank attempts to address this issue and quantify both the direct and indirect economic effects of this war on the countries in the greater Levant area—Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.
The direct effect comes from the decline in the size and skills of Syria’s labor force due to loss of life and refugee outflows, infrastructure destruction, the trade embargo on Syria, cost-of-doing-business increases, and a decline in productivity.
As a result of the war the six economies of the greater Levant taken together have lost close to US$35 billion in output, measured in 2007 prices. In other words, the cumulative economic size of these economies, measured by their Gross Domestic Product, could have been US$35 billion larger had the war not occurred. These aggregate costs of war are equal to the size of Syria’s GDP in 2007.