COVID-19 Pandemic and the Middle East and Central Asia: Region Facing Dual Shock

This blog is part of a series providing regional analysis on the effects of the coronavirus. By Jihad Azour عربي, Español, Français, Português, Русский The impact of COVID-19 and the oil price plunge in the Middle East and the Caucasus and Central Asia has been substantial and could intensify. With three-quarters of the countries reporting at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 and some facing a major outbreak, the coronavirus pandemic has become the largest near-term challenge to the region. Like much of the rest of the world, people in these countries were taken utterly by surprise with this development, and I would like to express my solidarity with them as they cope with this unprecedented health crisis. This challenge will be especially daunting for the region’s fragile and conflict-torn states—such as Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen—where the difficulty of preparing weak health systems for the outbreak could be compounded by reduced imports due to disruptions in global trade, giving rise to shortages of medical supplies and other goods and resulting in substantial price increases. Uncertainty about the nature and duration of the shocks has complicated the policy response. Beyond the devastating toll on human health, the pandemic is causing significant economic turmoil in the region … Continue reading COVID-19 Pandemic and the Middle East and Central Asia: Region Facing Dual Shock