- GDP (PPP):
- Inflation (CPI):
- Public Debt:
Ongoing chaos and the devastation caused by more than a decade of conflict again preclude any ranking of Syria in the Index of Economic Freedom. In addition to a horrific death toll, Syria’s civil war has caused the near collapse of economic output and has largely wiped out economic freedom.
Even before the ongoing conflict, the fragility of the foundations of economic freedom was reflected in very low scores for property rights and corruption. Politically motivated enforcement severely undermines the rule of law, and state intervention has undermined many aspects of the entrepreneurial framework that are needed for economic dynamism.
The Assad family has ruled Syria since Hafez al-Assad’s military coup in 1970. Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father in 2000 and failed to fulfill promises to open the socialist economy and ease repression. A sectarian civil war between predominantly Sunni rebels and the Alawite-dominated regime has killed more than 500,000 Syrians and driven about 5.7 million refugees out of the country, but Assad’s regime, supported by Iran, Russia, and the terrorist Hezbollah, has largely defeated the fractured armed opposition. Assad claimed to have won 95 percent of the votes in the May 2021 presidential election. Syria’s economy remains severely depressed.
Rule of Law
The overall rule of law is weak in Syria. The country’s property rights score is below the world average; its judicial effectiveness score is below the world average; and its government integrity score is below the world average.
The civil conflict has caused mounting damage to the economy. Economic policy has focused on protecting the regime and maintaining the military’s fighting capacity. Government spending is driven by political concerns. Economic mismanagement has brought the economy to the brink of collapse.
The repressive and fragile business environment, already burdened by heavy state intervention and gravely exacerbated by the civil war and severely damaged infrastructure, continues to affect entrepreneurial activity. Functioning labor markets do not exist in many war-torn locations. Monetary stability has long been eroded.
Political instability, made worse by significant security threats, is a significant impediment to trade and investment. The investment environment lacks transparency and efficiency. The financial infrastructure has been significantly degraded. Severely limited access to financing impedes any meaningful private business development.