The fourth issue of the UNESCWA “Annual Review of Developments in Globalization and Regional Integration in the Countries of the UNESCWA Region, 2005” is due to be launched on Wednesday 1 March 2006, at 11am in the UN-House, Beirut. This flagship publication analyses the degree to which the Arab economy is integrated into the world economy and the extent of economic integration between Arab countries. It targets decision makers in UNESCWA member and other Arab countries, in addition to researchers, academics and others interested in the economy of globalization and regional integration.
The Review notes that while some improvement was made in the Arab world in 2004 in terms of certain indicators for globalization and regional integration, the involvement of the Arab world in the global economy remains very limited compared to other developing countries. It says that oil remains the most significant sector in the Arab world, both in terms of reserves and production.
An overview of the status of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) is provided, with the Review commenting that recent developments should have a positive impact on Arab intraregional trade and investment. Arab intraregional tourism, considered a key indicator for regional integration, increased considerably, according to the Review. It goes on to point out that indicators for information and communication technology (ICT) have shown that some countries exceed world averages, indicating that the integration of Arab countries in the world economy is high in that sector compared to other sectors.