130 mn Arab population in poverty: UN survey

Survey expects a further rise in poverty levels in the next two years

Beirut: A survey released by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has said that poverty affects one-third of the Arab region’s population, excluding the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Libya.

Dubbed “Survey of Economic and Social Developments in the Arab Region,” it added that “poverty, measured against national poverty lines, increased to affect 130 million people in Arab countries”.

The survey expects a further rise in poverty levels in the next two years, reaching 36 per cent of the population in 2024, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Moreover, the Arab region registered the world’s highest unemployment rate in 2022 at 12 per cent, said the survey, adding that there may be a very slight decrease in 2023 to 11.7 per cent, owing to post-Covid-19 economic recovery efforts.

It expects the region’s economy to grow by 4.5 per cent in 2023 and 3.4 per cent in 2024.

Ahmed Moummi, the lead author of the survey, said that GCC and other oil-exporting countries will continue to benefit from higher energy prices, while oil-importing countries will suffer from several socio-economic challenges, including rising energy costs, food supply shortages, and drop in both tourism and international aid inflows.

Moummi noted that oil-exporting Arab countries should diversify their economies away from the energy sector by investing in projects that generate inclusive growth and sustainable development.

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