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Survey of Economic and Social Developments in the ESCWA Region, 2009-2010

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This year's Survey looks at the effect that the 2008 global financial crisis had on economies and social development in the Economic and Social Commission of Western Asia (ESCWA) region. Like other emerging economies, those of ESCWA member countries have been affected to varying degrees. Weak macroeconomic policies, regional trade and financial integration linkages and heavy dependence on external resources to finance development channeled the global financial crisis into local economies, severely undermining recent regional and international efforts for global integration.
The survey has shown that the more diversified economies have weathered the global recession well, whereas the impact on the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council has been much more significant. While certain developed countries and a number of large emerging market countries are now showing some signs of recovery, the effect of the crisis on the ESCWA member countries has not yet fully unfolded. It is possible that the negative economic and social consequences of the crisis, for example on employment, poverty, health, education, gender equality and growth will be felt for some time to come. While unfavourable trade patterns and income leakage currently characterize manufacturing in ESCWA member countries, industrialization would allow for broad based growth and higher wage income, recapturing the region's own incomes and satisfying the demand of its own markets, which in turn, would partially insulate regional economies from the vagaries of the global market and a recurrent crisis.