“Reconstruction cost of Syria is estimated at $300 billion five times the 2010 GDP”, FEMISE conference interview with Osama Kadi, President of Syrian Economic Task Force
Syrian Economic Task Force, SETF, is an economic research group that plays an awareness role in international conferences, workshops and media, to show the historical, current economic crisis and vision of future Syrian economy.
Interview with Osama Kadi during the Femise annual conference, 29-30 of April 2017 in Casablanca where about a hundred Mediterranean experts delivered views on “Migration and Refugees Crisis in the EU-Med: Dawn of an era of shared responsibility? “.
How can the international community mobilize to stop the war in Syria?
The new US administration is the only political force that is able to pursue the political negotiation to a serious phase, and break the current status quo of political negotiation. I believe the coming Geneva talks should shape the final phase of political resolution, because it seems that the US political discourse has changed since Mr. Trump assumed presidency.
Since March 2011, the war in Syria has caused more than 320,000 deaths and the displacement of millions. What are the steps that the Syrian diaspora is doing to help the country recover from such a humanitarian tragedy?
Unfortunately, the UN agencies distributed most of all the assistances (90 %) that was collected through fund raising conferences to the Syrian regime instead of giving it to the oppressed Syrians. The regime didn’t allow any assistance to reach tens of besieged cities, moreover it repeatedly bombed UN cargos, other relief from many international agencies, and at destroying medical hospitals. For instance, MRI medical equipment that costs 2-3 million of dollars and took months of fundraising by Syrians, destroyed by the regime within 30 seconds.
What strategy to rise to the challenge and incite Syrians rebuild their country ?
We believe there is a need to draw in depth strategy on subjects like: agro-business, agro processing, and ecology. In fact, the longer-lasting conflict may have a more negative impact on the economy and institutions, and delay the recovery. Assuming Syria post conflict starts in 2018 at 4.5% growth, recovery might takes 20 years.
If the defense ministry of the coming transitional government can collect all weapons by using smart policy that has both economic incentives and heavy hands, and assuring decent level of safety; then I believe that with international support the Syrian economy could grow at more than 9%, so the reconstruction process might take10 years or less.
Success in a post-conflict reconstruction depends on nearly simultaneous progress in four “pillars”: security, justice and reconciliation, economic and social well-being, and governance and participation.
The Syrian economy is facing huge challenges; the reconstruction cost is estimated at $300 billion, five times the 2010 GDP; mass poverty, destruction of health and education services, large-scale displacement of Syrians, loss in human capital, low level of international reserves, destruction of infrastructure, accelerated exchange rate depreciation, dollarization, high and rising inflation, legal and financial issues associated with frozen assets…Dealing with all of the above is the only way to ensure efficient reconstruction.
Interview undertaken by Nathalie Bureau du Colombier in partnership with Econostrum at the FEMISE Annual Conference of 2017- Photo by Nathalie Bureau du Colombier.