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Gathering storms: the Middle East and North Africa in a new era of global turmoil


Over the last three years, the world's economies have grappled with three major challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant rise in inflation, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has increased geopolitical tensions. These shocks have had significant negative effects on global economic growth prospects. However, the impact has been uneven, with notable variations, particularly among Mediterranean countries. Fear-driven market responses have deeply affected food and energy supplies. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict caused a rapid surge in wheat prices, hitting levels last seen in 2008. This crisis has extended to higher oil and gas costs, increased transportation and insurance expenses, trade instability, and port disruptions. Bank transfer restrictions with Russia have worsened economic conditions. Globally, the recession amplified economic downturns, decreased employment, transportation, and productivity, resulting in severe disruptions across supply chains. One potential silver lining in the inflation, particularly in commodities like fuel, is that it may compel governments worldwide to seek energy security through sustainable solutions aligned with the United Nations' 2030 Agenda. The Mediterannean Economies 2023 is a collection of essays that analyses the economic, political and social effects of the Russia-Ukraine war in the Mediter­ranean area.