Tag: MENA

Iraq continues shutting down camps leaving people homeless
Middle East & Africa

Iraq continues shutting down camps leaving people homeless

Iraq continues shutting down camps: The refugee camps are rapidly closing in Iraq and that has raised concerns that it might leave thousands of people homeless. The concerns are regarding the time of the year this step has been taken as winter season is fast approaching. 

In a report by the BBC, it was revealed that several of these people were asked to leave the shelter in a very short time span leaving them with no arrangements for further stay. The information has been confirmed by the Norwegian Refugee Council. 

The government said that they will have to return back to their place of origin but they have forgotten to acknowledge that their places were destroyed by the Islamic State attack. Nearly six million Iraqui nationals fled their homes. 

The trouble ended three years ago but the situation has hardly improved as far as human welfare is concerned. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as many as ‘1.3 million people remain displaced, while more than half of the 4.7 million returnees have gone back to areas where living conditions are “severe”.’

In 2019, there were reports that Bhagdad has forced a lot of these camps to close down, putting great pressure on people living there. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic in place, the shifting slowed down giving a little more time to the people but the central power is adamant on closing down these camps neglecting the danger that the people might have to go through. 

“Closing camps before residents are willing or able to return to their homes does little to end the displacement crisis. On the contrary, it keeps scores of displaced Iraqis trapped in this vicious cycle of displacement, leaving them more vulnerable than ever, especially in the middle of a raging pandemic,” NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland warned. 

There are several families living in these camps be it Baghdad, or Karbala, Diyala, Sulaymaniyah, Anbar, Kirkuk and Nineveh. They were suddenly made to leave, confirms NRC. 

Another major concern with this is ignorance towards the ongoing pandemic because once these people leave their home, there is little to no accountability and that may increase the infection rates in the country.  

It is not as easy of a battle for these people as the government of Iraq thinks it to be. Even though the war and so-called danger ended in 2017 on papers, there are hints of it throughout the city. And now with covid-19 there are other reservations in place as well. 

One of these people talked to the NRC and said, “This is my home. Why would you force me out of my home? We will become homeless. It feels like a funeral to me.”  The 49-year-old woman living in Hammam Al Alil, added that now she is left with only resort which is setting up a tent in Mosul and living midway. 

MENA region to attract increasing foreign capital inflows
Middle East & Africa

MENA region to attract increasing foreign capital inflows

IIF projects GCC nations to drive external capital inflows in MENA region amid demand for hard bonds

COVID-19 has presented multiple shocks for emerging markets with collapsing capital inflows and domestic and external demand. Amid ongoing efforts to recover from pandemic repercussions, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) has stated that capital inflows in the Middle East region are anticipated to remain high. Speaking to Gulf News, IIF Chief Economist for MENA region Garbis Iradian said that the institution is expecting non-resident capital inflows to the MENA countries to increase up to $177 billion in 2021, which is significantly equivalent to 6.6 percent of the GDP of the region. 

As per the report, hard currency bond issuance of GCC countries is playing a significant role in increasing the capital inflows, adding that countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabi, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar have issued hard currency bond worth $91 billion so far in 2020, as compared to a total of $99 billion in 2019. 

At the same time, GCC’s funding needs are also projected to increase in 2021 even as fiscal deficits have narrowed. Gulf countries are driving the requirements for high-quality assets which will result in the growth of gross public external financing of the region to approximately $100 billion by next year.

Meanwhile, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) continues to remain low in MENA countries in the backdrop of economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is prominently concentrated in the oil and gas sectors in the region, with the UAE and Egypt standing high as the highest FDI recipient in the MENA region.

As per an IMF report in January 2020, the Middle East and North Africa region has been witnessing high and stable gross capital inflows in the last years compared to other emerging markets, providing a boost to investment and job creation in the countries. 

After MENA countries integrated into the global capital markets, their capital inflows surged to over $155 during 2016-2018.

However, the UN organization has also raised concerns about the increasing global economic risks that would put MENA countries in a vulnerable position due to shifts in fiscal deficits, debt burdens and financial buffers. The IMF had recommended MENA countries to improve their policy framework in a bid to strengthen their resilience to volatile capital flows and mitigate the risk of outflows. 

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