Syria Overview

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Syria Overview

  1. 1. Introduction Full name: Syrian Arab Republic Capital: Damascus Official language: Arabic Currency: Syrian pound (SYP) Population (2008): 19.1 million Area: 185,180 sq km Population growth: 2.5% / year Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 38 00 E International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook, 2008 / CIA Factbook 2
  2. 2. Introduction 3
  3. 3. Introduction 4
  4. 4. Syria Historical Overview Helmet with Mask 1,950 years old, silver and iron National Museum, Damascus “Therefore, that every cultured man belongs to two nations: his own and Syria” Historian Andre Parrot 5
  5. 5. Syria Historical Overview list of food rations The oldest known dictionaries are The Earliest Ebla: 2400 BC cuneiform tablets from the Alphabets - Ugarit Akkadian empire with bilingual wordlists in Sumerian and Akkadian discovered in Ebla in modern Syria. The Oldest Song In The World - Ugarit The song was discovered Ugarit in the early Fifties, and then deciphered by Professor Anne Draffkorn Kilmer. The tablets containing the notation were about 3400 years old, and contained cuneiform signs in the hurrian language that provided musical notation of a complete cult hymn. It's thought to be the oldest preserved song with notation in the world, and predates the next earliest example of harmony by 1,400 years. 6
  6. 6. Syria Historical Overview Mosaic of Hercules 1,700 years old, marble. God El Limestone: 1300 BC Peacock Mosaic 400 AD The god El was the father of (peacock symbolized all the other gods and of immortality in early King of Mari humanity as well. Christian art) 4,200 years old, 7
  7. 7. Syria Historical Overview Manuscript: Medical Works between 700 - 500 years old Astrolabe 500 years old, copper Vase with cart 3,300 years old, ceramic 8
  8. 8. Syria Historical Overview Syria often called is the Cradle of Civilization and the Gateway of History, and from it civilization began . Syria is well known for its distinguished geographical location to the east of the Mediterranean between three continents Asia, Europe and Africa. Syria’s history dates back to the beginning of the Bronze era, in 10000 B.C. the Kingdom of “Khana” on the banks of Euphrates as the fist civil agricultural civilization in the world. In 4000 B.C the Kingdom of Mari was established according to a developed comprehensive construction plan, that included water, marine and military establishments. In Mari Kingdom the oldest documentary library in the world was Statuette of the god Baal 3,800 years old, silver and gold discovered, and Ugarit – Rass Shamra is where the first Alphabet was established. 9
  9. 9. Syria Historical Overview From the Phoenician cities extended along Bilad Al Sham sailed the Phoenician boats to promote the Syrian products in Europe, Tunisia (Carthage) and North Africa. Through Syria passed the Silk Road coming from China, with its first Syrian station being Doura Europos, followed by Bosra, Homs and Aleppo up to the Mediterranean departing from the Syrian coasts and ports. 10
  10. 10. Syria Historical Overview Several peoples and civilizations succeeded each other on the Syrian territory: Sumerians, Amorites, Acadians, Hittites, Pharaohs, Hurries, Assyrians, Canaanites, Aramaic, Persians, Greeks, Seleucids, Ptolemy, Romans, Arab Nabataea, Byzantines, Arab Ghassanids. Later came the Arab Islamic Conquest and there came the Umayyad, Abbasids, Tulunids, Ikhshidid, and Fatimid. Syria was also subject to several “Crusades Campaigns” during the era of Seljuk, Atabeg, Ayyubids, Mamluk. Syria was also subject to the invasions of Tatars, later it came under the rule of the Ottomans until the Great Arab Revolution, and after a while came under the French mandate, up until the evacuation in 1946 when the last French soldier departed the Syrian territories. 11
  11. 11. Syria Historical Overview The Syrian Capital Damascus is considered the oldest inhabited capital in history. The first sign of its existence was in Ebla boards, in 3000 B.C. The UNESCO listed Old Damascus, Old Aleppo, Bosra, Palmyra, Crac des Chevaliers, and Saladin Citadel in the International Heritage List, and another eight Syrian sites would be added to this list in the year 2010. 12
  12. 12. Syria Historical Overview The successiveness of these various distinguished civilizations in its humanitarian and knowledge combination formed the unique Syrian textile generating in the most fertile civilized interplay ever witnessed by humanity. The traces of these civilizations are still outspoken witnesses on the Syrian lofty civilization, such as the temples, theatres, bathes, churches, monasteries, mosaic, statues, engravings, water tunnels, cemeteries and Islamic monuments, since the first dawn of Islam. The first Medicine School in the world was established in Syria, and the first hospital. Mosques are spread all over the country as well as schools, tombs, sanctuaries and libraries. 13
  13. 13. Ebla
  14. 14. Privatization and Investment Climate The Syrian Economy was based on the principle of industrial approach and work on establishment of the infrastructure under the umbrella of the public sector. The Syrian Economy remained based on central planning and relatively closed until beginning of the nineties of last century. Syria started a radical review to its economic and development style that was characterized by adoption of economic multiplication instead of the state’s unilateral method and activation of the private sector’s role. In 1991 Law No. 10 was issued to encourage investment and grant the right to invest in Syria to all nationalities excluding the condition of Syrian citizens’ partnership in a capital share. This was an attempt to attract foreign capitals to Syria. The government started implementation of an economic reform program, through gradual liberation of trade by taking various procedures, such as simplification of the customs procedures, unification of customs fees, reduction and elimination of non-customs commercial barriers and the restrictions imposed on foreign currency and joining the “Great Arab Free Trade Zone” as well as modernization of the financial and banking sector. 17
  15. 15. Privatization and Investment Climate Syria was among 23 countries that established and signed the GAT agreement in 1947, and withdraw from it in 1951. Syria stayed away of the GAT until it took a decision to get back to it due to the international circumstances. Syria presented an official request to join the World Trade Organization in 2001. In the last eight years the Syrian economic strategy was focused on improving the economic situations to be in coherence with the international developments and transforms in addition to preparation of the right ground for hastening the transfer trend into a socio-market economy. This would be reflected in improvement of living and economic conditions of the citizens and provide legislative and institutional environment that encompass an investment frame, which adheres to the local, Arab and foreign investors’ ambitions and achieve balanced development rates. 18
  16. 16. Privatization and Investment Climate In this context, a wide range of legislations and decisions was issued during the last years aimed at activation of the active economic tools and attract capitals through organization and facilitation of the procedures of implementing the investment project, develop the necessary legislations, diversify investment incentives and guarantees, modernize the industrial sector and contribution of the private sector in the development process, create flexibility in the work market, finance small and medium projects and proceed with the development of the infrastructure, information and telecommunication. Industrial cities were found as one of the foreign investment incentives in addition to the access of a number of investors to the industries that were limited to the public sector, such as electricity generation, welding rods, metal sheets, rolling, galvanization, cement and others. This issue supported the sectors and supported the policy of economic multiplication in the industrial sector with new industries that did not exist before and it helped to expand the network of the Syrian industrial products set for local marketing and foreign export. The consecutive investment laws created an attractive investment atmosphere for Arab, foreign and local investments that had reach up to around 400 billion Syrian Pounds (8.7 billion USD) in 2007. 19
  17. 17. Incentives for Investors The Syrian economical policies focus on engaging the private sector in the ambitious development processes. Investment Incentives in Syria: • Strategic geographic location. • Stable and safe political environment. • Advancement in economic reforms. • Strong links with Arab & Foreign countries. • Variety of natural resources. • Acceptable infrastructure. • Reliable and professional Labor forces. • Equipped Industrial Zones. • Taxation incentives, exemptions and rebates. • Several mutual agreements and treaties to encourage and protect investments. 20
  18. 18. Incentives for Investors • Syria’s Membership in MIGA, Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation, Islamic Investment Guarantee & Export Insurance Agency. • Investors may open a foreign currency bank account at the Commercial Bank of Syria. • Investors may import all of their requirements for setting up and running the project. Such imports to be free of customs duties and taxes. • Joint stock companies set up under the project may enjoy tax relief on their operations for up to 7 years, other companies up to five years. • After five years investors may transfer in foreign currency out of Syria the net capital which they invested in the first place. • Profits and revenues may be transferred annually in foreign currency. • Expatriate workers may transfer 50%of their earnings and 100% of their terminal bonus in foreign currency. 21
  19. 19. Incentives for Investors Public investment VS Private investment in Syria: 2007‐2008 Public investment Private investment Agriculture and irrigation 48% 52% Quarrying industry 31% 69% Manufacturing industry 36% 64% Water and Electricity 55% 45% Building 8% 92% Tourism 33% 64% Transportation 51% 48% Services 94% 6% Estates, money and insurance 52% 48 http://syrianeasternregion.org 22
  20. 20. Syria Microeconomic Indicators Microeconomic Indicators GDP (official exchange rate): $44.49 billion (2008) Labor force 5.547 million Investment (gross fixed) 22.6% of GDP Revenue 10.9 Billion USD Expenditures: 13.77 Billion USD Public dept 41.2 of GDP Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14.9% Industrial production growth rate 3.2% Exports 13.12 Billion USD Exports commodities crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat. Export partners Iraq 30%, Lebanon 10%, Germany 9.7%, Italy 8%, Egypt 5.5%, Saudi Arabia 5.2%, France 4.9%. Imports 14.32 Billion USD Imports commodities machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper. Imports partners Saudi Arabia 12%, China 8.7%, Egypt 6.2%, Italy 6%, UAE 5.9%, Ukraine 4.8%, Russia 4.8%, Germany 4.7%, Iran 4.3%. 23
  21. 21. Syria Microeconomic Indicators Microeconomic Indicators Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 6.104 Billion USD. Exchange rates 46.5281 Syrian pounds per US dollar International airports 3 (Damascus – Aleppo – Latakia) Local airports 3 (Latakia – Der el zor – Qamishli) Railways 2,711 Km Roadways 97,401 Km Waterways 900 Km Ports and terminals Latakia - Tartus Industrial cities 4 (Aleppo – sheikh Najjar /Homs – Hesia /Damascus-Adra - Der Alzour) Free zones 9 Telephones 3.5 million (2008) Mobiles 6.77 million (2008) Internet host 7,857 (2008) Internet users 3.47 million (2007) IMF, World Economic Outlook, 2008 / CIA Factbook / http://www.syrianindustry.org / http://www.telegeography.com 24
  22. 22. Syria Microeconomic Indicators TEN ECONOMIC FREEDOMS of Syria Business Freedom 61.4 AVG. 64.3 Investment Freedom 40.0 AVG 48.8 Trade Freedom 54.0 AVG. 73.2 Financial Freedom 20.0 AVG 49.1 Fiscal Freedom 87.0 AVG. 74.9 Property Rights 30.0 AVG 44.0 Government Size 74.9 AVG. 65.0 Freedom. from Corruption 24.0 AVG 40.3 Monetary Freedom 67.2 AVG. 74.0 Labor Freedom 54.9 AVG 61.3 Economic Freedom Score: 51.3 Change from Previous: +4.2 The Heritage foundation USA - http://www.heritage.org 25
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