- GDP (PPP):
- $67.1 billion
- 4.8% growth
- -0.4% 5-year compound annual growth
- $4,030 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Ongoing chaos and the devastation caused by more than a decade of conflict again preclude ranking Syria in the 2021 Index. In addition to its horrific death toll, the long civil war has caused a near collapse of economic output and has largely wiped out economic freedom.
The economic cost of the Syrian civil war is likely to exceed $1 trillion, including aggregate GDP lost because of the conflict and future reconstruction costs. That figure does not include the very significant negative economic impact on Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon. Noneconomic costs are immeasurable.
IMPACT OF COVID-19: As of December 1, 2020, 422 deaths had been attributed to the pandemic in Syria, and the International Monetary Fund had not forecast whether the economy would expand or contract for the year.
The Assad family has ruled Syria since Hafez al-Assad’s military coup in 1970. Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father in 2000 but failed to keep his promises to open the socialist economy and ease political repression. A brutal crackdown after 2011’s Arab Spring protests sparked an armed uprising against Assad that by 2012 had become a sectarian civil war between the predominantly Sunni rebels and the Alawite-dominated regime. Assad’s regime, supported by Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, has largely defeated the fractured armed opposition. Parliamentary elections were held in government-controlled areas in 2020. The conflict has killed more than 500,000 Syrians and has driven nearly 5.5 million refugees out of the country. Syria’s economy declined by more than 70 percent from 2010 to 2017.
Property rights have been violated frequently during the civil war. Expropriations are commonplace. Although the judiciary is statutorily independent, judges and all other leaders of the regime’s constitutionally protected Ba’ath Party dominate the courts and all other branches of government and act with impunity. Corruption is also widespread in opposition-held areas. Even the distribution of basic state services and humanitarian aid is distorted by corruption.
The top individual income tax rate is 22 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 28 percent. The long civil conflict has caused mounting damage to the economy. Fiscal policy has focused on protecting the regime and maintaining the military’s fighting capacity. Government spending has been driven by the regime’s political concerns and the need to protect its own interests. Budget revenue from oil and taxes has declined severely.
The average amount of money recovered when resolving insolvency has more than doubled but is still at relatively low levels. Conflict has taken a severe toll on business freedom. Functioning labor markets do not exist in many areas. The government continues to subsidize food and fuel to the extent that it is able to do so, and the subsidies benefit only regime loyalists.
The continuing civil war severely deters international trade and investment. Political instability and repression, further exacerbated by years of economic mismanagement, have caused the economy to collapse. The financial infrastructure has been significantly degraded by unstable security and economic conditions. Severely limited access to financing impedes any meaningful private business activity and development.