|Total GDP (US$1995 billion) by sub-region:
In real terms, total GDP increased by 43 per
cent in the region as a whole over the decade to 1998 (measured
in constant US$1995)
Source: estimated from World Bank 2001
Economic performance has been greatly affected by
fluctuations in oil prices on international markets, internal economic
policies and other non-economic factors, including regional wars and internal
conflicts (UNESCWA 1999). The economies of the GCC countries depend on
oil revenues and related industries while those of the Mashriq countries
and Yemen are more diversified.
Total GDP for the region has increased more than threefold from US$85.8
billion in 1975 to US$256.67 billion in 1980 and reached US$307.71 billion
by 1998 (UNESCWA 1999).The graph on the right shows the growth of total
GDP in constant US$1995 for the period 1988-98.
The GCC countries (excluding Iraq) accounted for 85.47 per cent of aggregate
nominal GDP for the region in 1997, of which Saudi Arabia had the largest
share (US$146.2 billion) followed by the United Arab Emirates (US$49.54
billion) and Kuwait (US$30.37 billion). The Gulf War in 1990 severely
damaged the economies of many countries in the region, directly or indirectly.
Economic growth rates have varied considerably within the region. While
the real annual GDP growth rate averaged 3.04 per cent in the GCC countries
between 1976 and 1998, it was slightly higher in some Mashriq countries
- 4.46 per cent in Syria, 5.51 per cent in Jordan and 6.39 in Lebanon
The structural composition of GDP in the region has changed markedly
in the past three decades due to economic diversification (UNESCWA 1999).
GCC countries started restructuring their economies to reduce their dependency
on oil by diversifying into agriculture, industry and the service sector,
including tourism. The combined share of the industrial sector (including
oil) fell from 80 per cent in 1975 to 51 per cent by 1998, while the service
sector's contribution increased from 19 per cent in 1975 to 44.5 per cent
by 1998. The overall contribution of agriculture increased from 0.89 per
cent in 1975 to 4.22 per cent in 1998 (UNESCWA 1999). Although the share
of oil in the GDP of the GCC countries has fallen from 62.4 per cent in
1980, it was still high at 33.81 per cent in 1998.
|Energy production and consumption: West Asia
|West Asia is rich in conventional energy resources and 9 of the
12 countries are oil producers and exporters. Despite being a major
producer, the Middle East uses only about 4.3 per cent of total global
commercial primary energy. Energy consumption has grown faster in
West Asia over the past three decades than anywhere else. Nevertheless,
this growth slowed from 6.4 per cent annually in the 1970s to 4.7
per cent in the 1990s (UNDP, UNDESA and WEC 2000). Per capita total
final energy consumption has also grown steadily over the past three
decades, from 0.5 tonnes of oil equivalent in 1971 to 1.6 tonnes of
oil equivalent by 1999 (compiled from IEA 2001).