News / Middle East

Europe's Downturn Could Hamper Arab Spring Plans

People walk by Sawiris Towers, seven months after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted, and Egypt's business community becomes vocal in its pleas for the interim government to detail how it plans to revive confidence in the economy, in Cairo, Egypt, Septemb
People walk by Sawiris Towers, seven months after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted, and Egypt's business community becomes vocal in its pleas for the interim government to detail how it plans to revive confidence in the economy, in Cairo, Egypt, Septemb
Al Pessin

As new governments brought to power by the Arab Spring revolts work to deliver economic prosperity to their people, they are looking to Europe as a potential market and aid donor. The continent’s economic troubles could make it more difficult, however, for the Arab governments to reach their goals.

Egypt's popular revolution, and others in Tunisia and Libya, promised democracy and freedom from repression. They also unleashed pent up demands for more prosperity, a goal that depends in large part on international markets and investors.

Risk analyst Anthony Skinner of the Maplecroft company said, "This will have a bearing on how deep their pockets are, or how deeply they actually stick their hands into their pockets, and churn out revenue and aid to these markets, which have suffered a lot of turbulence in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. So, of course this will have a bearing on the overall ability of such markets to recover."

At the London School of Economics, Professor Iain Begg said Europe’s economic problems will be felt differently in the various Arab Spring countries.

"I think we need to look at the individual countries in the Arab world because they’re very different in their characteristics. Libya is an oil-rich country, and although it will take some time to get the oil revenue flowing again, Libya will benefit from losing its isolation. Much more difficult is Egypt, which is a very populous country, with fewer immediate export potentials," said Begg.

Libyan businessman Salem al-Maiar said demand will be important for Libya, too, particularly as it moves to diversify its oil-dominated economy.

"In the past 40 years the oil was the backbone of the economy, and it’s high time now to think seriously about diversifying and liberalizing the economy," he said. "Tourism... we have five UNESCO heritage sites registered in Libya. It is a beautiful country. You have the sea, the archaeology, the Sahara within 20-25 kilometers from each other."

Tunisia has long taken advantage of its location to earn money from tourism, mainly from Europe. But that was down sharply this year after the first Arab Spring revolt in December and January, and only now is beginning to come back.

Still, the ongoing downturn looms, although Begg said 2011 may prove to have been the worst year of the European economic crisis.

"With very few exceptions, the European countries are expected to grow the rest of this year, and certainly into 2012. So it continues to provide a potential market for the Arab countries. If it were to switch to a significant recession, then I’d start to be worried. But I don’t think it will," said Begg.

Moreover, Anthony Skinner said European investors soon may find the Middle Eastern countries more attractive.

"In terms of transparency,  in terms of there being a potential shift towards a more liberal democratic system, all of this, of course, bodes well for the individual countries concerned," said Skinner.

The joy and optimism of the Arab revolutions was bound to be followed by the more sober reality of developing countries in a global economic downturn. Now, experts say, the new Arab governments need to fulfill their political promises, be economically innovative, and hope their key markets and aid donors don’t go broke.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid