Author Archives: Jihad Yazigi

Aleppo out of work

Aleppo out of work

It took almost a full year before Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city by population, became an active part of the popular uprising that began engulfing the country in March 2011; but when it did, events very quickly took a violent turn. This summer has seen thousands killed in armed clashes and bombings, more than 200,000

Rebuilding Syria after revolution

Although now is apparently the time for destruction in Syria, hopefully, the time for reconstruction is not far off. While it is difficult to estimate the actual cost of the damage inflicted to the country’s physical infrastructure by more than 16 months of a popular uprising — most of the destruction having actually occurred after

A dwindling number of options

Press reports that the Syrian government is printing money in Russia to pay civil servants salaries and to close its budget deficit have raised serious concerns. Two issues — one political and the other financial — are at stake. The decision to print Syrian bank notes in Russia has been known for some time, as

Rebuilding the future

Syria’s political landscape has dramatically changed in the last fifteen months and so has its business environment. A few weeks before the uprisings began in March 2011, the Syrian government had announced its five-year economic plan running from 2011 to 2015, which was supposed to serve as a guide and a broad strategic framework for

The celebration of suffering

The announcement by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé on April 17 that Syria’s foreign currency reserves had halved since the beginning of the popular uprising in the country is hardly something to celebrate. Valued at $17 billion at the end of 2010, they would now be standing at some $8.5 billion according to Juppé’s estimate. 

Rolling back the frontiers of reform

On March 18 the Syrian government announced it would set price controls for a whole set of key commodity items, and that all retailers will have to comply with the new restrictions. The decision is a response to the surge in prices witnessed recently in the local market. Indeed, while inflation remained relatively under control

Stored value in troubled times

The unrest gripping Syria may have created havoc on the economy, but there is one industry that has benefitted from the turmoil — the real estate sector. Within days of the beginning of the protests last March, frantic construction activity began across most of the country’s informal areas. Syrians seized on a relaxation of strict

The tipping point

After months resisting the pressure, the Syrian pound dived in January against the United States dollar and other international currencies, forcing the central bank to announce that it would begin a managed float of its currency in a dramatic departure from a five-decade-old policy of strictly regulating foreign exchange transactions.  While the American dollar traded

Getting Syria back to work

The Syrian government’s admission in early December that the actual rate of unemployment in the country was anywhere between 22 percent and 30 percent testifies to the depth of the social crisis the society has gone through in the last three decades. The new estimates, provided by Radwan Habib, the minister of labor and social

Bludgeoning Syria’s economy

The past 12 months have been devastating for Syria’s economy. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has contracted by several percentage points (possibly by as much as 20 percent), the foreign currency reserves accumulated during the country’s short oil boom have been seriously depleted, the fiscal deficit has at least doubled, the national currency has lost some