Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 28 / Trend /
Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend analytical centre head
Summer came after spring, autumn came after summer, then winter and spring again came, but as opposed to the laws of nature, normal economic development will not return to the Arab world countries suffering the so-called 'Arab Spring'.
According to the latest estimates in the international media, the economic damage from the so-called 'Arab Spring' will amount to at least $225 billion. According to IMF estimates, Libya suffered the most serious financial losses, followed by Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen.
Arab Spring countries with their devastated economy fail to achieve any progress in their economies on their own. They are looking for financial help from stronger countries. Firstly, great hopes are pinned on neighbours who did not suffer a wave of unrest, (as a rule, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf), Western powers, as well as the international financial institutions (World Bank, IMF and others).
Gratuitous assistance rendered to these countries by the UN or other countries is like a drop in the ocean, because billions are required to reconstruct destroyed economies. Most have not received money promised from the rich powers or the international financial institutions. The main reason is that the suffering sides have not been able to determine the priorities in their development. And those countries rendering assistance adhere to the rules that by giving money, can dictate their terms and instead require compliance with their interests. The international financial institutions are not in a hurry to give loans fearing risks, but this form of assistance which would be able to stabilise the domestic economy for a while, will burden the external debt of the Arab countries as a credit debt.
It is expected that Egypt will get the majority of financial assistance on offer among the countries suffering from the Arab Spring. Saudi Arabia has allocated $500 million to support the Egyptian budget and $3.75 billion are planned to be spent for these purposes in the future. Qatar's authorities decided to increase financial aid to Egypt up to $5 billion.
The EU and associated financial institutions proposed giving Egypt aid to the same amount in the form of grants and soft loans. U.S. is ready to write off $1 billion from Cairo's three billion debts and to allocate millions of dollars for other types of assistance to strengthen Egypt's economy. As for aid to Egypt from the international organisations, the agreements on loan delivery were reached with the IMF, the World Bank and the IDB.
Other countries of the same composition of donors suffering from the 'Arab Spring' will receive financial assistance. Only Turkey can be added to this list which renders active assistance in the region, both in terms of investment and credit investments. Thus, Turkey has allocated a loan to develop the Egyptian economy to the amount of $2 billion. At present, Turkey is implementing a project to restore the electric infrastructure in Libya. It intends acquiring new oil fields on the Fizan block. Turkey has also approved allocating a loan worth $250 million to Tunisia.
In general, the analysis of financial assistance to Arab Spring countries has shown that today the economic and geopolitical interests in these countries have not been changed and as before, they are being formed under a trilateral influence from the Arab 'players' (in this case, Saudi Arabia), Middle Eastern countries (Turkey) and extra-regional powers (U.S. and EU).
Therefore, the historically formed combination of interests in the region must soon break the current situation in the Arab world and put those countries suffering from the Arab Spring on the route of necessary political and socio-economic changes.