This Survey assesses the economic and social developments in the ESCWA region using data that became available by the second quarter of 2012. It finds that growth in gross domestic product (GDP) seems to diverge between major oil-producing countries and the rest of the countries of the region. Oil export revenues in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries marked an all-time high. However, subdued intraregional tourism, foreign direct investment and foreign portfolio investment impeded the spread of the positive spillover of oil revenues throughout the region.
The Survey emphasizes that this growth polarization deepens already uncertain prospects of economic and social development in a region that has the highest unemployment rate in the world. The Survey concludes that Arab integration is crucial to achieve a constructive economic and social transition.