WASHINGTON, 16th September, 2016 (WAM) – The conflict has left deep marks on the Syrian economy and even with a relatively high annual growth rate of 4.5 percent, it is estimated that it would take Syria more than 20 years just to rebound to its 2010 pre-conflict GDP level, according to a paper released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday.

The paper titled ‘The Economic Impact of Conflicts and the Refugee Crisis in the Middle East and North Africa’ said, ”In addition to the tragic loss of life and physical destruction, war and internal strife in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen have exacerbated already high levels of poverty, unemployment, and pushed countries further into fragility erasing previous development gains for a whole generation. For example, in Syria school dropout rates reached 52 percent in 2013 and life expectancy fell to 56 years from 76 years before the conflict.” ”These are staggering numbers. Conflicts leave deep marks on economies,” Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, is quoted as saying.

Conflicts have also driven up inflation, weakened fiscal and financial positions, caused deep recessions and damaged institutions. For example, after four years of intense fighting, Syria’s output is now estimated to be less than half its level in 2010, before the conflict, while inflation has surged almost 300 percentage points in May 2015, the latest available month of data.

”Yet, the impact of conflicts is not confined to national borders. There are also powerful spill-overs to neighbouring countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Turkey, and beyond. To varying degrees, these countries are exposed to the challenges of hosting large numbers of refugees, weaker confidence and security, and declining social cohesion. All this affects the quality of institutions and their ability to undertake much needed economic reforms,” the paper added.