Countries

FRONTIER EMERGING MARKETS FOOTPRINT

Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America

  • The White population of Zimbabwe reached a peak of about 296,000 in 1975, representing just over four percent of the population, falling to 120,000 in 1999, and to probably no more than 30,000 in 2010. The white farming community never amounted to more than 8% of the total white population and this proportion fell steadily after 1945 up to independence in 1980. In the ten-year period from 1980 to 1990 approximately two thirds of the white population left Zimbabwe. (World Book Encyclopedia - Africa, UNHCR)


    At the time of Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, over 40% of the country's farming land was contained within 5,000 white farms. It was claimed that these farms provided 40% of the country's GDP and up to 60% of its foreign earnings. Twenty years after independence, there were 21,000 commercial farmers in the country of whom 4,000 were white and 17,000 were black. (Multinational Monitor (1981), SADC)


    In 1999 the ZANU-PF government initiated a "fast track land reform" program. This was intended to transfer 4,000 white farms, covering 110,000 km² (42,470 mi²) of mostly prime farmland, to black ownership. The means used to implement the program were ad-hoc and involved forcible seizure in many cases. (HRW)


    According to the Human Development Report (HDR) for 2011, in Zimbabwe, 17.9% of parliamentary seats are held by women, with 48.8% of women having reached secondary or a higher form of education as compared to the 62% for men. In terms of the labour market participation, 60% of women participate in the labour market as compared to 74.3% for men. (African Economic Outlook, UNDP)


    For many years, Zimbabwe was renowned as one of the few African states which maintained a truly independent judiciary (according to BTI). The Supreme Court and High Court frequently passed verdicts that ran against the government line or even forced the government to withdraw a certain measure. This independence was however consistently eroded since 2000, when the ZANU-PF-led government first expanded the membership of the Supreme Court and then replaced its independent members with government cronies. (BTI)


    Zimbabwe is member of the South African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States-European Union (ACP-EU) group and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is party to discussions on a tripartite free trade area encompassing COMESA, SADC and the East African Community. South Africa is the country’s largest trading partner, with 60% of imports and 40% of exports. (WTO, UNCTAD)


    Despite decades-long experience with authoritarian rule and the enduring political stalemates under a more democratic system, the general support for democracy is still quite stable. According to the last available survey (2012) conducted by Afrobarometer, 79% of Zimbabweans still preferred democracy over any other kind of government. At the same time, 66% regard Zimbabwe as not being a democracy or a democracy with major problems. Compared to other African countries, the Zimbabwean population is the most unsatisfied with the status of their democracy. (BTI)


    By 2005, the purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean had dropped to the same levels in real terms as 1953. As of 2012, according to the World Food Program, at least 85% of the population was unemployed and 49% malnourished, with 83% living on less than $2 a day. (Center for Global Development, World Food Program)


    Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe reached a peak of 90 sextillion percent before the government dollarized the economy in 2008. This is the second highest recorded rate of hyperinflation in history (after 1945 Hungary). At its peak rate in November 2008, prices of consumer goods denominated in Zimbabwe dollars would double in less than 24.7 hours. (African Economic Outlook, Hanke & Krus, BTI)


    Since 2009, Zimbabwe’s economy began to recover from the 1999-2008 crises that saw economic output cumulatively declining by more than 45%. Supported by a strong recovery of domestic demand and government consumption, real GDP grew by 20% in 2009-2011. GDP growth was led by strong growth in mining (107%), agriculture (35%) and services (51%) while recovery in manufacturing sector (22%) lagged. (World Bank)


    With liquidity too low to permit borrowing to fund a budget deficit, the government has been essentially forced to balance expenditures and revenues since 2009. Attempts to sell treasury bills have failed while formal FDI has been scant. Expenditure constraints have been particularly severe for those making efforts to restore efficiency to electricity, railway and air transport services. (IMF)


    As of 2011, Zimbabwe had total external debt estimated at $10.7 billion (113.5% of GDP). Most of the overdue obligations are owed to the World Bank ($911 million), AfDB ($587 million), EIB ($244 million) and IMF ($138 million). (World Bank)


    Zimbabwe is the only country in the world that uses as many as nine currencies simultaneously as legal tender. In an effort to combat inflation and foster economic growth the Zimbabwean Dollar was suspended indefinitely on 12 April 2009. (Bloomberg)


    In 2010, the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act was put into practice in Zimbabwe. The act allows different ownership thresholds for non-(black) Zimbabweans, and at least 51% of any company or firm has to be held by local, black Zimbabweans. Though the act has not been used consistently, it has been a constant threat and has had a negative impact on the economic environment. (BTI)


    The shadow economy is estimated to account for 60% of the overall economy, serving as the main pillar of Zimbabwe's economic activities and puts the country at the top of the world’s list of economies with informal activities. In the 2012 ranking of the Index of Economic Freedom, Zimbabwe was ranked as the second worst globally and the last within Sub-Saharan Africa. (Transparency International)


    According to BTI, "In 1980, the new Zimbabwe inherited the old Rhodesian apartheid state’s relatively good infrastructure, which it essentially maintained until the mid-1990s. A massive investment in the expansion of social infrastructure during the 1980s meant that the education level of the Zimbabwean population was still one of the highest in Africa." (BTI)


    The budget allocation towards education in Zimbabwe increased from 12.3% of the budget in 2010 to 22.8% in 2011 and 25.1% in 2012. Similarly, the allocation for health increased from 7% of the budget in 2010 to 9.3% in 2011 and 8.6% in 2012. Allocations to the water sector improved from 0.1% in 2010 to 1.4% in 2011 and 1.8% in 2012. In 2012, Zimbabwe had Africa's highest youth literacy rate (ages 15-24) at 99% and in 2013, the country boasted the highest adult literacy rate in Africa at 90.70%. (African Economic Outlook)


    In August 2008 large areas of Zimbabwe were struck by a cholera epidemic. By December 2008 more than 89,000 people had been infected in all but one of Zimbabwe's provinces and the outbreak had spread to Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. On 4 December 2008 the Zimbabwe government declared the outbreak to be a national emergency and asked for international aid. (Reuters, AFP)


    According to the WHO, the life expectancy for men in Zimbabwe was 37 years and the life expectancy for women was 34 years of age, the lowest in the world in 2006. The HIV infection rate in Zimbabwe was estimated to be 14% for people aged 15–49 in 2009. As part of the campaign against the HIV virus, condoms could be found in WCs free of charge. (JCP Country Visit, UN, WHO)


    In the 1980s and 1990s, Zimbabwe exported maize to its regional neighbors, especially Zambia, which was chronically short of food. Today, Zimbabwe imports 150,000 tons of maize from Zambia, which last year produced 2 million tons compared with Zimbabwe's 800,000. Between 2000-2012, production of maize declined 79%, wheat 90%, soy beans 66%, citrus 50%, fresh produce 61%, dairy 59%, beef 67%, coffee 92%, and tea 40%. Only tobacco, a major foreign currency generator, has rebounded markedly in the last year from a near 80% decline. In 1980, the agricultural sector contributed 14% to the GDP, grew to 20.4% in 2001, but fell to 12.5% last year. (FT African Farming Report January 2013, WFP)


    Following President Mugabe's fast-track land reform program 13 years ago, maize production is down 60% to 800,000 tons and wheat production collapsed to a mere 25,000 tons from 250,000. Zimbabwe, once described as a regional bread basket, spends $750 million per annum on food imports. (FT African Farming Report January 2013)


    36% of Zimbabwe's irrigation potential of 550,000 hectares is currently being watered. Zimbabwe needs to invest $580 million in irrigation, but the 2014 budget was able to provide only $10 million. (FT African Farming Report January 2013)


    The Marange diamond fields, discovered in 2006 in Zimbabwe, were considered the biggest diamond find in over a century. In terms of carats produced, the Marange field is the largest diamond producing project in the world, estimated to produce 16.9 million carats in 2013 worth over $1 billion. Since Marange's discovery, diamonds have been a large source of corruption. According to Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), some $2 billion of revenues from the diamond sector has been lost in the last three years. (Earth Times (2010), Partnership Africa Canada)


  • In Zambia, growth in real GDP accelerated to 7.3% in 2012 from 6.8% in 2011, while inflation declined to an annual average of 6.5% in 2012 from 8.7% in 2011. (African Economic Outlook)


    Zambia has the lowest percentage of private credit to GDP in the world, at 2.2%. (World Bank)


    Zambia is dependent on copper mining, which accounts for about 80% of foreign exchange earnings (but only 6% of total revenues). (African Economic Outlook)


    In Zambia, the Kalomo Social Cash Transfer Scheme led to an increase in the ownership of goats form 8.5% of households to 41.7%. The program also led to 4 times more households engaging in investment activity and a doubling of the amounts invested. (African Economic Outlook)


    Zambia has the world's largest surplus of non-genetically modified white maize, equal to a stock of over 1.5 million tons available for export. (African Economic Outlook)


    Zambia has among the highest income tax rates on telecom operators in Africa (53%). (Frontier Economics15)


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  • According to the World Bank, "Vietnam has experienced high and sustained rates of economic growth over the last two decades, driven by a series of market-oriented reforms launched in the late 1980s. Initial progress was led by reforms in the rural economy, which led to a highly egalitarian distribution of agricultural land to rural households and diversification in on-farm activities, reforms that provided the right incentives for increases in farm production and export orientation." (World Bank - Well Begun, Not Yet Done: Vietnam’s Remarkable Progress on Poverty Reduction and the Emerging Challenges. 2012)


    Vietnam’s record on economic growth and poverty reduction over the last two decades has been remarkable. The country's historical growth patterns have been remarkably pro-poor with, growth in per capita GDP averaging 6.1% a year in the 15 years between 1993-2008, while poverty fell by an average of 2.9% a year during that period. The poverty headcount fell from 58% in the early 1990s to 14.5% by 2008, and was estimated to be well below 10% by 2010. (World Bank - Well Begun, Not Yet Done: Vietnam’s Remarkable Progress on Poverty Reduction and the Emerging Challenges. 2012)


    Vietnam's per capita income reached USD 1,407 in 2011, up from USD 437 in 1986, when the Doi Moi reforms were implemented, helping transition Vietnam from a centrally planned economy into a market-oriented one. (World Bank Light Manufacturing in Vietnam)


    External liberalization has been a hallmark of Vietnam's structural reforms over the last two decades. Beginning in the late 1980s, tariffs were unilaterally reduced, and numerous quantitative restrictions on trade abolished. Subsequently, Vietnam actively participated in bilateral and regional trade agreements. Membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995 and its associated Asian Free Trade Area, and the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement in 2001, were important steps in the integration process. After 2003, Vietnam accelerated its negotiations for WTO membership and officially acceded to the WTO in January 2007. According to the World Bank, "Implementation of these agreements not only helped promote exports and restructuring in the domestic economy, but became key drivers for reform of key institutional underpinnings of a market economy, including legal and judicial structures. The Common Investment Law of 2005, for example, helped to harmonize treatment and regulation of all types of businesses including domestic firms, foreign firms, and cooperatives." (World Bank - Well Begun, Not Yet Done: Vietnam’s Remarkable Progress on Poverty Reduction and the Emerging Challenges. 2012)


    Thanks to external liberalization, Vietnam’s foreign trade has grown at more than twice the rate of GDP growth, and in 2010 the foreign trade ratio (imports plus exports as a percentage of GDP) was an unprecedented 165 percent. By comparison, and at its peak in China in 2006, it was only 70 percent. The composition of exports has slowly shifted. Exports of oil and agricultural products continue to remain important, but labor-intensive light manufacturing goods now represent the fastest-growing component of exports. Imports of capital machinery and intermediate goods dominate on the other side of the ledger. Export growth has been aided by the run-up in foreign direct investment in Vietnam, which rose from only US$0.5 billion in 1992 to around US$11.0 billion by 2010, with much of this occurring after WTO entry. Rapidly rising wages in China make Vietnam very appealing. Currently, foreign-invested firms are the source of half of Vietnam’s nonoil exports. In terms of employment, however, these firms still employ less than 2 percent of the labor force. (World Bank - Well Begun, Not Yet Done: Vietnam’s Remarkable Progress on Poverty Reduction and the Emerging Challenges. 2012)


    2013 could be the first year since 1993 that Vietnam reports a positive trade balance. (World Bank Light Manufacturing in Vietnam)


    In addition to productivity growth, rising rates of investment in the domestic economy have been an important source of growth. This works through two channels—on the demand side, as an important source of growth in expenditure, and on the supply side, through investment’s role in expanding the country’s productive capacities and introducing new technology and know-how into the economy. Between 1992 and 2010, gross capital formation rose from only 17.6 percent of GDP to 38.9 percent, comparable to levels observed in the Republic of Korea; Japan; and Taiwan, China at their peaks. In 2010, the World Bank put domestic savings at 33.2 percent of gross national income. With the government sector typically running fiscal deficits and state-run firms net borrowers, the huge increase in savings is coming from a more than doubling in the savings rates of households and private enterprise. (World Bank - Well Begun, Not Yet Done: Vietnam’s Remarkable Progress on Poverty Reduction and the Emerging Challenges. 2012)


    Improvements are also notable in housing quality and ownership of durables. By 2010, 89 percent of Vietnamese households owned TVs (compared to 56 percent in 1998), 85 percent owned an electric fan (compared to 68 percent in 1998), 43 percent owned a refrigerator (compared to 9 percent in 1998), and a substantial 76 percent owned at least one motorbike (compared to 20 percent in 1998). If affluence and quality of life are reflected, at least in part, in the consumer durables that people own and use, then there have been dramatic improvements since the late 1990s. (World Bank - Well Begun, Not Yet Done: Vietnam’s Remarkable Progress on Poverty Reduction and the Emerging Challenges. 2012)


    Vietnam was the world's 12th largest remittances recipient country in 2013 ($10.6 billion inflows, up from just over $2 billion in 2003), which represented 7.1% of GDP and over 1.3x FDI inflows (5 yr avg). The World Bank estimates that 2.26 million migrant Vietnamese (2.6% of the population of 87 million) have also amassed approximately $11 billion in diaspora savings, representing 12% of GDP and 42% of domestic savings. (World Bank - Migration & Remittances Unit)


    Vietnam's Land Law of 1993 marked the continuation of a program of agricultural reforms that were initiated in 1988 with the implementation of Resolution 10. Resolution 10 radically changed the incentive system in the rural sector by recognizing, for the first time, that the household was the basic production unit of Vietnam’s agrarian economy and granted it the needed autonomy. With the aim of consolidating these changes, the 1993 Land Law granted households five basic rights: to transfer, exchange, inherit, rent, and mortgage their land. The law also extended the lease term to 20 years for annual cropland and 50 years for perennial cropland. The implementation of this law resulted in an extensive land titling program in Vietnam. In terms of scale and speed of implementation, it was one of the largest rural titling programs in the developing world (Iyer and Do 2008). Resolution 10 and the Land Law of 1993 together played a crucial role in boosting agricultural growth in the 1990s, thus enabling Vietnam to move from a food deficit country in the 1980s to one of the world’s largest rice exporters by the end of the 2000s. (World Bank - Well Begun, Not Yet Done: Vietnam’s Remarkable Progress on Poverty Reduction and the Emerging Challenges. 2012)


    In Vietnam, SOEs dominate key industries and in the aggregate appear to have maintained high profit margins. Recent estimates by the IMF (2013) showed that Vietnamese SOEs accounted for one-third of all the country's business assets, one-sixth of employment, one-half of corporate income tax revenue and one-third of domestic value added taxes. (IMF)


    Prior to 2000, private enterprises in Vietnam were allowed to operate but were subjected to a series of government approvals and controls. With the introduction of the new Enterprise Law, citizens were allowed to establish and operate private businesses with limited intervention from government officials. The most important innovation introduced by the Enterprise Law was the simplification of registration procedures and the associated elimination of a large number of business licenses, which sharply reduced transaction costs for businesses and helped install greater business confidence. As a result of these reforms, the number of registered enterprises increased by almost 15 times within only 10 years, from 31,000 in 2000 to 460,000 in 2009, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. (World Bank - Well Begun, Not Yet Done: Vietnam’s Remarkable Progress on Poverty Reduction and the Emerging Challenges. 2012)


    Waterways are critical to Vietnam's economy, and over 50% of freight tonnage moves on barges and coastal vessels. (World Bank)


    Vietnam is the fifth largest exporter of tea in the world, shipping products to 105 countries and territories (Vietnamnet)


    In 2012, Vietnam exported 1.6 million tons of coffee, making it the world's largest exporter. (International Coffee Organisation)


    On an annual basis, Vietnam produces more than 800 million pairs of leather shoes and 120 million leather bags. In 2009, Vietnam was the third largest exporter of leather products, after China and Italy, with a 7.9% market share. (World Bank Light Manufacturing in Vietnam)


    The average cost of milk production in Vietnam is USD 0.22 per liter, the fourth cheapest country in the world after New Zealand, Australia, and India. (World Bank Light Manufacturing in Vietnam)


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  • Uruguay has the lowest level of income inequality in Latin America, with an after-tax income Gini coefficient of 0.437. This figure is still higher than the most unequal non-Latin American country in the OECD, Turkey. (World Bank Shifting Gears to Accelerate Shared Prosperity in LAC)


    In Uruguay, only 2.6% of individuals live under extreme poverty, or less than USD 2.5 per day, the lowest rate in Latin America. (World Bank Shifting Gears to Accelerate Shared Prosperity in LAC)


    Uruguay buys climate insurance for USD 450 million against the lack of rain because 80% of electricity generation in the country is hydraulic. (World Bank)


  • Dubai has a long legacy as a trading post. Its location in the lower Gulf made it one of the natural locations for regional trade, but also for trade between Asia and Europe. By the 1890s, Dubai had become the leading trading post in the lower Gulf. The removal of trade barriers as well as the openness to immigration from trading communities in Iran and other parts of the Gulf region fuelled growth. (Dubai Economic Council, 'Clusters and Dubai's Competitiveness', 2009)


    Dubai’s long-run economic growth has been exceptionally high over the past few decades, with GDP growth between 1975 and 1990 at close to 6% per year, and for the last 15 years it has grown at almost 9% per year. According to the Dubai Economic Council, few economies in the world have sustained such an extraordinary pace of growth for an extended period of time, including the high performing city economies of Hong Kong and Singapore. Unlike Singapore and Hong Kong however, Dubai's growth model has (thus far) been quite reliant on factor accumulation (capital and especially unskilled migrant labor) and much less so on achieving higher total factor productivity. (Dubai Economic Council)


    The UAE is the second-largest economy in the Middle East (after Saudi Arabia) with GDP of $350bil (2011), and has the second highest GDP per capita ($38,000) in the region (after Qatar); it is ranked eighth ranked worldwide. (Banco Espirito Santo)


    In the context of diversifying its economy, the non-oil sector share of total exports in UAE increased by 5% over the last three years and rose by around 22% in 2011. (Banco Espirito Santo)


    According to the World Bank, close to 90% of UAE male nationals work in the public sector (the highest ratio in MENA in 2011), while approximately 80% of UAE female nationals are employed by the public sector. (World Bank)


    According to the World Bank’s Doing Business survey, the UAE was ranked 26th in 2013. However, when it came to resolving insolvency, the country was ranked in 101st place, behind Azerbaijan. It takes an average 3.2 years to resolve an insolvency issue in the UAE, compared to the OECD average of 1.7 years, while the recovery rate was 29.4% vs. 70.6% in the OECD countries. (World Bank, Arabian Business.com)


    In 2009, the Dubai government commission a report titled "Clusters and Dubai's Competitiveness", with a focus on four strategic clusters in the Dubai economy: construction, financial services, tourism, and transportation and logistics. The report is part of the overall measures taken by the Dubai government to continuously improve the competitiveness of the Dubai economy. According to the report, "This approach is driven by the understanding that higher levels of competitiveness can only be reached, if companies, educational institutions, and government agencies in a specific field start to work together in mobilizing cluster dynamics. In Dubai, there is a sense that the time has come to engage in such a new stage of economic development. The report is seen as an important starting point for such a process." (Dubai Economic Council, 'Clusters and Dubai's Competitiveness', 2009)


    "Dubai has avoided the fate of many other governments that created government-linked companies with a view to create national champions that then become marred in corruption and inefficiency. The real estate developers were given an easy entry into the market but were then expected to vigorously compete, also against other government-related companies. This has ensured a competitive level of efficiency in their operations." (Dubai Economic Council, 'Clusters and Dubai's Competitiveness', 2009)


    The UAE's main productive sector is the oil industry, which represents 30% of GDP. (Banco Espirito Santo)


    The UAE is one of the leading oil economies: 6% of global reserves are located in its territory (the seventh largest reserves worldwide) and the country is the 7th largest oil producer globally. (Banco Espirito Santo)


    The UAE is a standout performer in terms of logistics, ranked 24th in the world in the 2010 LPI, with a score comparable to that of South Korea's. (World Bank - Logistics Performance Index)


    Dubai ranks among the ten largest container ports and the fifteen largest cargo airports in the world. Its market share among the leading twenty locations in both categories is between 4% and 4.5%. (DP World)


    Two-thirds of the world's population are within an 8 hour flight from Dubai and one-third within a 4 hour flight. As of December 2013, Dubai International Airport was ranked second (behind Heathrow) in terms of international passenger traffic with 66.4 million passenger arrivals (up from 57 million in 2012). Emirates Airlines was the world's third-largest carrier in terms of available seat kilometers per week in 2012 (growing 18.4%) and was expected to gain the 2nd rank in 2013. Etihad Airways ranked 28th in 2012. (Dubai Airports, Emirates Airlines)


    Dubai’s logistics sector plays a pivotal role as a trade hub, where it competes in the market for logistical flows between Asia and Europe. Dubai has become an important regional trading hub, both for the GCC and also for a much larger region including large parts of the East African coastline. "As an export/import location, Dubai serves the increasing demand of the local market and provides the platform to export the goods processed locally, dominantly from the Jebel Ali Free Zone. Dubai also plays an important role as the de-facto export/import hub for much of Iranian non-oil trade. Dubai is one of the few locations in the world that provide strong sea as well as air cargo services." (Dubai Economic Council, 'Clusters and Dubai's Competitiveness', 2009)


    The Dubai Financial Market (DFM), was established in 2000 as a public institution with its own corporate body. The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) was created as a free zone for financial activities in 2004. This was possible after an amendment to the UAE Constitution and a number of federal and Dubai laws. In 2005, the DIFC became home to the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), a second exchange located in the regulatory environment of the free zone. The DIFX was later renamed NASDAQ Dubai. (Dubai Economic Council, 'Clusters and Dubai's Competitiveness', 2009)


  • Ukraine is one of the world's fastest shrinking countries, with a population decline of 0.6% in 2013. (CIA)


    Ukraine's GDP per capita still lingers below 1989 levels and at a mere 10% of the EU average after twenty years of transition. (World Bank)


    Ukraine was the world's 14th largest remittances recipient country in 2013 ($9.3 billion inflows, up from just over $330 million in 2003), which represented 4.8% of GDP and over 1.3x FDI inflows (5 yr avg). The World Bank estimates that 6.57 million migrant Ukrainians (14.3% of the population of 46 million) have also amassed approximately $10 billion in diaspora savings, representing 9% of GDP and 57% of domestic savings. Ukraine was the fastest growing country in terms of remittance inflows in the last decade (of the top 20 inflow countries) with a compounded annual growth rate of 40% since 2003. (World Bank - Migration & Remittances Unit)


    Ukraine has the second highest number of engineers (per thousand people) in the world after Thailand, at an average of 25 graduates per 1,000 people. (World Bank)


    The list of Ukraine's twenty five largest enterprises has not changed much since the early 1990s: state owned enterprises (SOEs) and privatized SOEs continue to dominate the economy. There are only seven new private companies. (World Bank)


    Ukraine featured global technology leaders such as the Antonov Aviation Company, which manufactured the largest airplane in the world. (World Bank)


    Ukraine has 176 active banks dominated by small, captive banks closely related to domestic groups. (World Bank - Migration & Remittances Unit)


  • During 2005–09, Uganda's consumption per adult grew by 5.1% per year, while the poverty headcount declined from 25% to 20%. Inequality, however, increased, with the Gini coefficient rising from 42 to 48. Further decomposition by the World Bank (using a nationally representative panel of individuals) shows that while only three-quarters of the population was rural (in 2009), it accounted for all of the poverty reduction, but only half of the consumption growth observed in the sample. The urban population contributed little to poverty reduction, despite generating half of Uganda’s welfare expansion and making up a quarter of the population. Poverty among those in Kampala increased slightly, even though Kampala accounted for 42% of overall growth. (World Bank - Africa's Pulse (October 2013))


    In Uganda, poverty incidence has decreased to 24.5% in 2009, compared to 56% in 1992. (African Economic Outlook)


    Uganda has the youngest population in the world, with a median age of 15 years (World Bank)


    Primary school enrollment in Uganda has increased sharply in the past two decades, from around 2.7 million pupils in 1997 to 8.2 million in 2009. (African Economic Outlook)


    Agriculture is the bedrock of the Ugandan economy. It contributes up to 21% of GDP, accounts for 48% of exports, provides a large proportion of raw materials for different industries and employs 73% of the population aged 10 years and above. (World Bank Africa Trade Practice Working Paper Series Number 3)


    In November 2013, Uganda overtook Ethiopia to become the largest coffee exporter in Africa. (International Trade Center )


    Uganda has one of the worst road safety records in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an average rate of 45 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles. The country is estimated to lose about 2.7% of its GDP through losses of life and property. This is equivalent to the proportion of GDP spent on the road sector. (World Bank The Africa Competitiveness Report 2013)


  • Present-day Turkmenistan covers territory that has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. At 188,500 sq. miles (488,100 km2), Turkmenistan is the world's 52nd-largest country. In medieval times Merv (today known as Mary) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road, a large road used for trade with China until the mid-15th century. Over 80% of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sands) Desert. (Dragon Oil)


    Turkmenistan, a desert nation, has the second lowest population density (after Kazakhstan) in former Soviet Central Asia. Nomadic herdsmen for centuries, Turkmen were subdued by Russia during the late 19th century, gaining independence only in 1991. (National Geographic)


    Turkmenistan has the fourth-largest gas reserves in the world at 17.5 trillion cubic meters. As of 2013, Turkmenistan was China’s largest foreign supplier of natural gas. (World Energy Council)


    Turkmenistan is an important producer of crude oil and natural gas – and is the world number four in terms of gas reserves after Russia, Iran and Qatar. One half of its irrigated land is planted in cotton, making it also the world's 10th-largest cotton producer. (Dragon Oil)


    Development of gas exports is hampered by a lack of gas-pipeline routes out of landlocked Turkmenistan. Russia controls most of the pipelines and has refused to export Turkmen natural gas to hard-currency markets. A gas pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan gained approval in 2002, but the security situation in Afghanistan remains an obstacle. Disputes between Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan over Caspian Sea seabed and maritime boundaries limits international investment in new gas fields and pipelines. (National Geographic)


    Mr. Niyazov was the first President of Turkmenistan until 21 December 2006, when he passed away. Mr. Niyazov was known for his eccentric cult of personality. He used the country's oil and gas wealth to build golden statues of himself around the country, a theme park based on Turkmen folk tales, and made his book - a "spiritual guide" called the Rukhnama - compulsory reading for students and workers. In his calendar, Saturday was Rukhnama Day and April was named after his mother, who died in 1948. (Dragon Oil, BBC)


    Dr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was elected as President and was sworn in on 14 February 2007. President Berdimuhamedow, a dentist by profession, served in the government under President Saparmurat Niyazov as Minister of Health beginning in 1997 and as Deputy Prime Minister beginning in 2001. (Wikipedia)


    Gas, water,and electricity have been supplied free to households since 1993. In 2006, the country's parliament voted to extend the free-energy policy until 2030. (WSJ)


    The majority of Turkmenistan's citizens are ethnic Turkmen, sizeable minorities of Russians and Uzbeks also live in the country. Eighty-nine per cent of the population is Muslim.


    Begun in the 1950s, the Garagum Canal, one of the world's longest, drained water away from the Amu Darya River to southern Turkmenistan—but the old canal leaks and creates salt deserts. Also, by diverting water from the Amu Darya, the canal contributed greatly to the drying up of the Aral Sea. (National Geographic)


    Less than 1% of adults in Turkmenistan have a bank account, one of the lowest ratios in the world. (World Bank)


  • As a result of the reform process of regulatory convergence with the European Union (EU), Turkey has been able to create more than 3 million new jobs since the mid-2000s. (World Bank)


    Turkey has been self-sufficient in food production since the 1980s. (OECD)


    Turkey ranks 10th in the list of countries by steel production. (World Bank)


    Turkey received 35 million tourist arrivals in 2013, an increase of 10% over 2012 and a substantial rise from the 2002 figure of 13 million. (Ministry of Culture & Tourism)


  • Tunisia emerged from the Ottoman Empire as one of the most liberal and human rights-friendly countries, having banned slavery in 1846, the first in the Muslim world to do so. Tunisia adopted this abolition two years before France, 19 years before abolition in the United States (1865), 42 years before Brazil (1888) and 116 years before Saudi Arabia (1962). – Journal of Democracy (Alfred Stepan, 2012).


    Tunisia was a part of the Ottoman Empire from 1580 until the imposition of the French Protectorate in 1881 and shared strong links to the old Muslim kingdom of Andalusia in southern Spain. During that period, Tunis had become a preferred destination for Muslim and Jewish emigrants. These emigrants brought from Spain such extensive high-level experience in governing and administration that many of them, for centuries, filled high posts under the Hafsid Dynasty (1229–1574). - Journal of Democracy (Alfred Stepan, 2012).


    Tunisia adopted the first written constitution in Arab History (1861), a constitution that, according to French social scientist Jean-Pierre Filiu “enshrined a political power distinct from religion: Islam was barely mentioned, only to stress that the text was not contradicting of (Islam’s) principles”. - Journal of Democracy (Alfred Stepan, 2012).


    According to Alfred Stepan of Columbia University, in Tunisia “as early as 2003, secular and religious opposition activists were agreeing on a common program for ‘the day after Ben Ali’ that to some extent drew upon their shared useable past to imagine a democratic future. With secularists agreeing that Islamists could participate fully in democratic politics, and Islamists agreeing that popular sovereignty is the only source of legitimacy, Tunisia was surprisingly well situated to make a good showing at the work of democratic transition when the moment to undertake that work came around.” – Journal of Democracy (Alfred Stepan, 2012).


    According to Alfred Stepan of Columbia University, “Tunisia has a long intellectual and educational tradition that combines important secular and spiritual elements. Nineteenth-century Tunisia played a pioneering role in building constitutional and state structures that were religiously neutral and rights-enhancing, and it was home to politically engaged Islamic thinkers who argued for a more rights-based reading of Islam, especially in the area of rights for women.” - Journal of Democracy (Alfred Stepan 2012).


    With a literacy rate of close to 80% and with over 3% of the population attending a university or college (2011), Tunisia stands as one of the most advanced countries in MENA in terms of education. - Mondher Ben Ayed – “The Dynamics for Transition in Tunisia and Their Implications on the Economy, June 2013.”


    A May 2014 report by the World Bank described the scale of ‘state capture’ in Tunisia under former President Ben Ali as: “extraordinary—by the end of 2010 some 220 firms connected to Ben Ali and his extended family were capturing an astounding 21% of all private sector profits annually in Tunisia (or US$233 million, corresponding to over 0.5% of GDP). “ In addition, Tunisian banks funded these businesses to the tune of 2.5% of GDP (the equivalent of 5% of all financing by the Tunisian banking sector in 2011). The World Bank report goes on to say, “that such a small group of 114 people could appropriate such a large share of Tunisia’s wealth creation illustrates how corruption has been synonymous with social exclusion.” – ‘The Unfinished Revolution – Bringing Opportunity, Good Jobs and Greater Wealth To All Tunisians’, Development Policy Review, The World Bank, May 2014.


    According to the World Bank, the cost of international telephone calls to and from Tunisia in 2013 was one of the most expensive in the world, over 10 times international market prices, and on par only with countries such as Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo. – ‘The Unfinished Revolution – Bringing Opportunity, Good Jobs and Greater Wealth To All Tunisians’, Development Policy Review, The World Bank, May 2014.


    The Tunisian private sector is dominated by small, sub-scale and relatively un-productive firms, according to a recent World Bank report. One of the explanations for these findings is that “firms used to try and stay ‘below the radar screen’ to minimize the risk of predation from the Ben Ali and Trabelsi clan. More generally these findings reflect the numerous barriers and distorted incentives facing the private sector.” – ‘The Unfinished Revolution – Bringing Opportunity, Good Jobs and Greater Wealth To All Tunisians’, Development Policy Review, The World Bank, May 2014.


    Prior to the 2011 revolution, Tunisia scored very poorly on indicators of public sector accountability and the rule of law. For example, the country scored 48/100 on Global Integrity’s score on ‘Corruption and the Rule of Law’, and 17/100 on their ‘Government Accountability’ score in 2010. Rather than a high cost of capital or a lack of access to other factor inputs, according to the World Bank, under the Ben Ali regime, “the lack of effective institutions to ensure public sector accountability, the rule of law, and checks and balances on power……resulted in weak protection of property rights, barriers to entry and competition, and high costs and risks of corruption.” – ‘The Unfinished Revolution – Bringing Opportunity, Good Jobs and Greater Wealth To All Tunisians’, Development Policy Review, The World Bank, May 2014.


    The World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business’ survey placed Tunisia 110th in the world in overall labor market flexibility (2010) and 181st out of 183 countries in the flexibility of dismissing workers (2012). A number of structural impediments contributed to this poor ranking. First, payroll tax rates for firms serving the domestic Tunisian market approached 30% of payroll. Even without including the 9.18% contributed by workers, this as a share of profits is one of the highest rates vs. comparator countries. Second, the lack of flexibility in the labor market, particularly regarding open-ended contracts, raises the costs and risks of employing workers, and in turn reduces the demand for labor. Finally, according to the World Bank, “centrally negotiated wages may protect certain workers, but where they are higher than labor productivity in a given firm, they decrease demand for employees.” Firms surveyed in the most recent World competitiveness survey reported a low relationship between pay and productivity (with a rank of 81 out of 143 countries) and a relatively low degree of flexibility in wage determination (119th in the world. - ‘The Unfinished Revolution – Bringing Opportunity, Good Jobs and Greater Wealth To All Tunisians’, Development Policy Review, The World Bank, May 2014.


    According to the African Development Bank, in the three decades between 1980 and 2010, Tunisia grew at almost exactly the same average rate as Turkey, but maintained a more stable growth path. Tunisia also grew much faster than Jordan and Romania over this period, although growth in those comparator countries accelerated over the past decade following a collapse in growth in the mid-1980s. – ‘Towards a New Economic Model for Tunisia – Identifying Tunisia’s Binding Constraints to Broad-Based Growth’, The African Development Bank, 2013.


    "At this moment when so much has gone off course in the region, it is only fair to note that (Tunisia) where it (the Arab spring) all began has taken important steps toward addressing its past of abuse and first steps toward a future where rights will be respected. These efforts have begun to bear fruit with the adoption, on December 15, of a transitional justice law. This historic legislation was adopted following an extensive consultative process, which was admirably conducted throughout the entire country, including the hinterlands, and among all groups; it was not left to elites in Tunis. The law provides for a comprehensive set of measures, including a Truth and Dignity Commission, special judicial chambers to address human rights violations; and reparations to victims through a Fund for the Dignity and Rehabilitation of Victims of Tyranny." (Three Years Since Revolution, Tunisia Seeks to Reckon With Difficult Past, David Tolbert, President, International Center for Transitional Justice. The Huffington Post, January 14, 2014)


    "For Tunisians, the goals of (their Jasmin revolution) were primarily freedom and economic prosperity. Even though they are disillusioned by current political leaders and believe that the difference between the rich and poor expanded since the overthrow of the authoritarian ruler, Zein al-Abedin Ben Ali, in early 2011, Tunisians consider themselves to be more empowered and freer than they were before the revolution." (The Birthplace of the Arab Spring: Values and Perceptions of Tunisians, Mansoor Moaddel, Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland, December 15, 2013)


    With the adoption of a new constitution by an overwhelming majority of the Constituent Assembly on January 26, 2014, Tunisia has taken a major step on the road to political stability. The constitution decentralizes governance, guarantees freedom of speech except for a proviso that bans attacks against Islam, the state religion, while also banning accusations of apostasy. It further guarantees the right to healthcare, and to freedom from discrimination, and extends significant new rights to women, including protections from violence, the right to decide on matters of marriage and divorce, and the right to equality with men in the workplace. As such, the constitution is potentially a good framework to launch the urgent reforms needed to tackle the endemic social and economic ills that Tunisia endured for too long, and deal with the new dangers arising from the spread of radical salafist influence both in Tunisia and the region. (Hussein Hammami)


    "What we see today in Tunisia is a persistent and continued effort from all political stakeholders that have joined into the transition to reach agreement on the future nature of rule emerging from nearly six decades of undemocratic rule. And, in the sometimes dysfunctional and most times ad hoc process of deciding Tunisia’s political future, we can be encouraged that Tunisia’s transition reveals the raw beginnings of an emerging democratic culture, one of bare knuckles negotiation, horse trading and brinksmanship and yet, a culture made ever stronger by each moment of crisis diverted." (Testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Scott Mastic, Director, Middle East and North Africa, International Republican Institute, December 4, 2013)


    Tunisia’s demography is characterized by a high concentration in the middle part of the population pyramid with ages 15-29 representing 29% of the total population and ages 30-59 representing 37% in 2009. The number of children-per-woman has decreased from 6 during the 1960s to 3.4 in 1994, and to 2.05 in 2009, the lowest rate in the Arab world. (AFDB, Tunisia: Economic and Social Challenges Beyond the Revolution)


    Substantial resources were devoted to promoting innovation and research in Tunisia in the last decade, with numerous technology parks, important subsidy programs, and tax breaks. However, even though 1.3% of GDP went to R&D in 2009, only 26 international patents were registered. Likewise, Tunisia had one of the lowest shares of high-tech industries (5.4% in 2009, compared to 11.5% in Jordan). As documented in the World Bank’s (2010) development policy review on Tunisia, these unsatisfactory outcomes were largely due to governance constraints, such as the censorship of the Internet and foreign publications. (World Bank)


    The Tunisian service sector has high growth and job creation potential, but its exports are largely dominated by the low performing tourism sector. The service sector accounts for 46% of GDP and absorbs 49% of employment (2010). The development of this sector is hampered by heavy regulation and by the domestic market oriented policy. Data from the World Tourism Organization (WTO) show that the average per capita spending of tourists coming to Tunisia does not exceed $385, the lowest among all touristic destinations on the Mediterranean coast. Average per capita spending for tourists visiting Morocco is $725, while it is $770 in Turkey, $890 in Egypt, and $1000 in Greece. (AFDB, Tunisia: Economic and Social Challenges Beyond the Revolution, World Tourism Organization (WTO))


    The (Tunisian) offshore regime provides generous benefits to investors: duty-free imports of raw materials and equipment, free repatriation of profits, and 10 year tax holidays. Nevertheless, there is a very limited link between the offshore and onshore sectors. The limited level of foreign partnerships in the onshore sector, and more broadly in Tunisian manufacturing industries, is due to the low integration level of onshore industry to the global economy, thus limiting the technology spillover effects of the competitive export-oriented sector to the rest of economy. (AFDB, Tunisia: Economic and Social Challenges Beyond the Revolution)


    According to the most recent Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum, the Tunisian labor market has failed to efficiently marshal its young talent to create jobs and growth. A seemingly concise diagnosis, but, when unpacked, it reveals a few phenomena that have combined for the perfect storm of youth unemployment: a gap between labor supply and demand, a prohibitively rigid labor market, and lingering cultural assumptions about self-employment and entrepreneurship. Out of 138 countries, Tunisia ranked 83rd in overall competitiveness. But its score for labor market efficiency tells a much darker story: Tunisia’s labor market was ranked 132 out of 138. (CIPE Development Blog, Margaret Bohlander, 18 November, 2013)


    For many years, Tunisia has been developing its phosphate processing industry to produce phosphoric acid and fertilizers, becoming the world’s second largest producer and leading exporter of trisodium phosphate (TSP), with 21.7% of global production and 31.2% of global exports. (African Development Bank)


    Prior to the Jasmin Revolution, the Tunisian banking system played a key role in supporting government policy through government-backed loans to state-owned enterprises, but was progressively affected by the asset predation of the former president’s entourage. It is estimated that about 7% of banking loans were granted to the companies controlled by the former president’s extended family and entourage. (AFDB, Tunisia: Economic and Social Challenges Beyond the Revolution)

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  • Togo, officially the Togolese Republic, is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located.

  • In Tanzania, rural households located within 30 meters of existing electricity distribution facilities were charged almost USD 300 by the Tanzania Electric Supply Company in 2011 to have electricity. This is more than 6 times the amount paid in Bangladesh and Ghana and represents around 43% of the annual median rural income in 2007. The high connection costs explains why Tanzania has a low electrification rate: 14% at national level and 3% at rural level. (World Bank From the Bottom Up Report on Africa)


    Tanzania’s economy has been resilient to shocks and is expected to remain buoyant with a GDP growth forecast of 7.1% in 2013 – well above regional averages. (African Economic Outlook)


    Over the past decade, Tanzania's real GDP growth never dipped below 6% and reached as high as 7.8% in 2004. (World Bank)


  • Tajikistan worker remittances represent 48% of GDP and a whopping 1129% of international reserves, the highest in the world. (World Bank)


  • The modern Syrian state was established after the First World War as a French mandate. It gained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–1971. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered to be non-democratic. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in civil war in the wake of uprisings (considered an extension of the Arab Spring, the mass movement of revolutions and protests in the Arab world) against Assad and the Ba'athist government. (Freedom House)


    The Syrian state, which existed from 1946-58, can be invoked for its relative sectarian tolerance, democratic aspirations, and even one free and fair election. These memories, however, are not by themselves sufficient to overcome the last forty years of authoritarian practices. Imagining the future will require focused efforts and painstaking effort in building consensus. (Preparing for a Syrian Transition, Lessons from the Past, Thinking for the Future, The Legatum Institute, Ashraf Ghani & Clare Lockhart, 2013)


    "Between 1946 and 1970, [Syria] was a battleground where competing regional ideologies—communism, nationalism, pan-Arabism, and Ba’athism—fought for control. Since 1970, Syria itself has played a decisive role in the politics of Lebanon. At different times Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq have tried to influence the course of events in Syria; Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States now have ambitions there as well." (Preparing for a Syrian Transition, Lessons from the Past, Thinking for the Future, The Legatum Institute, Ashraf Ghani & Clare Lockhart, 2013)


    Syria’s economy was in dire straits long before its civil war. Oil was its most important foreign exchange earner, but production from mature fields was in decline and since 2008 its overall petroleum balance had turned negative. Imports of petroleum products like diesel exceeded the value of declining crude exports ever since. The Syrian regime regarded self-sufficiency in strategic crops as vital. By 1994/95, Syria was self-sufficient in wheat and even exported a surplus. Yet like its oil boom its agricultural expansion was not sustainable. Droughts necessitated food imports in 1999/2000 and then again from 2008/09 onward. (Syria’s War Economy and Prospects of Reconstruction, Eckart Woertz, Barcelona Center for International Affairs, September 2013)


    While the oil front crumbled, agriculture did not fare better. Economic liberalization in Syria’s crony capitalism in the 2000’s meant granting urban clients and military-security networks privileged access to resources. Agricultural support schemes were dismantled and small-scale farmers were left behind, vulnerable to the epic drought from 2006 to 2011. Whole villages migrated to cities in the west and put a strain on the social fabric, while the regime had neither the will nor the capacity to cope with the crisis in an equitable way. State institutions hollowed out, as privatization had not been accompanied by adequate taxation. Inequalities and malnutrition increased. By 2010, well before the war, the UN estimated that 3.7 million Syrians suffered from food insecurity. It was this disenfranchised rural constituency that turned against the regime first. (Syria’s War Economy and Prospects of Reconstruction, Eckart Woertz, Barcelona Center for International Affairs, September 2013)


    Four years of devastating drought beginning in 2006 caused at least 800,000 farmers to lose their entire livelihood and about 200,000 simply abandoned their lands, according to the Center for Climate & Security. In some areas, all agriculture ceased. In others, crop failures reached 75%, while as much as 85% of livestock died of thirst or hunger. Outside observers including UN experts estimated that between 2 and 3 million of Syria’s 10 million rural inhabitants were reduced to “extreme poverty.” (World Bank, Syria Overview)


    Syrians in the major metropolitan areas are, by and large liberal, who thrived for centuries as traders and artisans, always loyal to the mantra "live and let live". They are also the quintessential survivors. Whereas their liberalism pitted them ideologically against the oppressively constricting socialism of the Baath party and the crude tribalism of their minority Alawite rulers, their well honed instinct for survival made it imperative that they refrain from any active opposition to the two Assad regimes over the past 40 plus years. The Assads reciprocated by making sure that the Syrian middle classes had enough economic room to live in relative comfort. (Hussein Hammami)


    With the expanding influence of the Salafist jihadis in the ranks of the fighting opposition, those middle classes in the big cities are coming out more openly in support of the Assad regime knowing full well that a Salafist jihadi victory would spell catastrophe for them. Because of the deep fissures that three years of civil war left between the various religious and ethnic communities, repairing the immeasurable physical damage that the country suffered may be the easier task as compared to the challenge of national reconciliation. The Syrian middle classes may not be useful as fighters, their contribution to reconstruction may be limited to providing know-how and not much in the way of investments, but they could be well positioned as the primary local conciliators. After all, they have a stake in a peaceful Syria and have been historically successful in building mutually beneficial bridges between them and the different components of the Syrian society. (Hussein Hammami)


    "The [Syrian Baath] regime depends upon a corrupt financial alliance between merchants, key members of the Assad family, and high ranking officials of the regime. The regime’s funding comes from Syrian oil, import quotas, the legacy of smuggling of Saddam-era Iraqi oil, and a range of levies charged on transactions in Lebanon. There is now evidence that sanctions are undermining this economic pillar. The Assads and their corporate allies are now being forced to choose between spending their accumulated money, imposing a war tax on the merchant class, or finding an external patron or patrons to underwrite the costs of their war. Whether the regime can continue to finance the war is a critical indicator of its capacity to survive. With the domestic sources of revenue becoming scarce, decisions by Iran, Iraq, and Russia to provide economic and military assistance will have an important impact on the shape and duration of the conflict." (Preparing for a Syrian Transition, Lessons from the Past, Thinking for the Future, The Legatum Institute, Ashraf Ghani & Clare Lockhart, 2013)


    Three years on since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the country's population, economy, and infrastructure suffered devastation of unprecedented proportions. Estimates indicate the following: Of a population of 21 million, approximately 130,000 were killed and four times that number injured. About 9.3 million people are in need of aid within Syria, 6.5 million people were internally displaced, and 2.5 million Syrian refugees were registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in neighbouring countries. (Disaster Emergency Appeal,UK)


    The overall poverty rate had reached 75% by the end of 2013 and extreme poverty is estimated at 54% of Syria’s population. Prior to the crisis, Syria’s economic reform efforts had helped strengthen growth, although external and domestic shocks, and particularly the impact of the global financial crisis and prolonged droughts, had adversely affected Syria’s macroeconomic performance. (World Bank, Syria Overview)


    Approximately 2.3 million jobs have been lost, affecting an additional 10 million dependents, and economic losses are estimated at between $60-$80 billion, or 40 percent of the country’s GDP. Key challenges in the Syrian economy include high levels of unemployment - especially among youth - reduced rates of growth, falling productivity in the agriculture sector, and real or suppressed inflation. (The Economics of the Syrian Crisis, February 26, 2014, Ethan Kapstein and Amanda Mayoral, US Institute of Peace)


    There is a significant economic component shaping attitudes toward the insurgency too. Well-to-do neighbourhoods were generally not sites of protest, and large merchants have been careful not to visibly break their ties to the Assad regime. Demography matters too: although fertility rates have declined, Syria has one of the youngest populations in the world with 60% believed to be under the age of 203. This frustrated generation is a central driver of the insurgency, providing both abundant manpower and momentum. (Preparing for a Syrian Transition, Lessons from the Past, Thinking for the Future, The Legatum Institute, Ashraf Ghani & Clare Lockhart, 2013)


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