Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Mary Han, Vanessa Ratten and Isabell M. Welpe
Chapter 35: Syria
Wafica A. Ghoul Introduction The Republic of Syria has a surface area of 185 180 km2, and a population of 21 million growing at an average rate of 2.2 percent (2008 estimate). Damascus is the capital. Arabic is the official language. Syria’s main resources are petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, chrome, iron, manganese ores, asphalt, rock salt, marble and gypsum. Syria’s gross domestic product (GDP) is around US$41 billion. In 2007 the economy grew by an estimated 5 percent mostly thanks to the rise in oil prices, expatriates’ remittances, tourists’ receipts and growing foreign investments. Foreign direct investment rose in 2007 to US$778 million, an increase of 30 percent on 2006. Foreign direct investments originate mostly from Russia, Iran and some of the Gulf Arab countries, while Western companies remain rather cautious due to the political turmoil in the Middle East region and sanctions against Syria. Recent data show that the sectors of the economy are agriculture 23.6 percent, industry 27.5 percent, and services 48.9 percent of GDP (2007 estimates). In 2007 inflation was estimated at 7 percent, and public debt was 37.8 percent of GDP. Syria has 2.4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, hence it has recently benefited from the rise in oil prices, however it became a net oil importer of oil-related products in 2006 according to a May 2007 statement by Muhammad Hussein, the Minister of Finance who was quoted by Oxford Business Group. The same publication reported that ‘in 2003, oil accounted for 47...
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