BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Social uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa created a vast economic chasm between oil- and non-oil-producing countries, a U.N. report determined.
A protest suicide in December 2010 in Tunisia sparked the so-called Arab Spring, which swept over much of the Middle East and North Africa.
A report released from the Beirut headquarters of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia found oil-producing countries in the region benefited from high oil prices that resulted from the regional uprisings.
"Regional unrest, however, in addition to rising oil prices and import bills, affected trade and tourism revenues, most starkly in Lebanon," it added.
Abdallah al-Dardari, an economic development director at ESCWA, was quoted by Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star as saying MENA governments should consider economic integration to stave off a major economic recession.
"This is the only answer to the region's economic woes," he said. "The region has all the resources needed for fostered economic cooperation that is beneficial to all."
The report offers a bleak economic forecast for 2012, with growth estimated 1 percent lower than June 2011 predictions. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in its monthly report for January offered a similar forecast, expressing particular concern about eurozone countries.
"A renewed global recession is just around the corner and the developed economies are on the brink of a downward spiral," the U.N. report read.