The coronavirus has led more than 500 000 deaths and strained health care systems worldwide. But it has also damaged the global economy and governance. One increasing risk that these effect will lead to more episodes of large-scale internal violence, including civil war.
Most of these countries are located in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East regions. World Bank estimates that Covid-19 would affect the global poverty. According to latest forecasts, global output is projected to contract by 3% in 2020. This would likely to cause th first increase in global poverty since 1998 following Asian Financial Crisis. The number of people lving on less than $1.90 per day is projected to rise fom 8.2% to 8.6% (which means additional 33 million people, reaching to 665 million). This is around the same number of people during 2017. That means it would take 3 years to fix the effect of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Sub-Sharan Africa and Middle East would be major regions which we expect to see the effects. Most of the states are ruled by authoritarian leaders such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria….
The pandemic will affect the global agreed UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). There is no binding penalty for states which will fall short of reaching the goals. The importance of SDGs come due to the reason that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand in hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
Including the failure to fight with Covid-19, most developing states including fragile/failed have not demonstrated competency to develop national economy, yet. For example, Egypt GDP between 2020-2030 is forecasted 3% increase annually whereas Egypt needs 7% GDP growth in order make meaningful change. Failed states like Syria, Iraq and Libya need civil institutions to set up while minimizing the risk of internal war. In the Sahel, Mali and Nigeria are already engaged in conflicts against Boko-Haram and al-Qaeda. Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected to experience heightened fragility. Possible negative actions would ignite an economic fallout which would intensify the tensions. Even, Lebanon is fragile among Middle East countries where Covid-19 escalate the worst financial crisis in decades.
As government struggle to balance flattening the pandemic through softening the social and economic fallout, there are some roles Turkey can take over.
It is not suggested that Turkey’s economy is sufficient to bring solutions to all problems in the region. In fact, Turkey has to start implementing structural reforms in order to engage with fight against economic fallout. But Turkey has the capability to do quicker than any others in the region. However, Turkey’s growing influence enforce Turkey not to think alone but in broad perspective if Turkey wants to enlarge its economic and political influence in the region.
Turkey cannot support financially. But it can encourage countries to make positive reforms rather than resorts to crackdowns. Turkey can support the institutions in vulnerable countries which provide case for its citizens and manage the spread of covid-19 and related health problems. Turkey’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) (ref; https://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/turkeys-official-development-assistanceoda.htm).
Turkey’s development co-operation is provided in line with the Statutory Decree on the Organization and Duties of the Turkish Co-operation and Co-ordination Agency (TIKA), adopted in 2011. The agency designs and co-ordinates Turkey’s bilateral development co-operation activities and implements projects in collaboration with other ministries, NGOs and the private sector. TIKA is an autonomous institution attached to the Prime Minister’s Office. Other public institutions, NGOs and the private sector also implement projects and programmes funded through Turkey’s ODA.
The amount of Turkey’s aid has been increasing greatly in recent years. During 2015, Turkey provided the largest share of its bilateral development co-operation to Syria, Somalia, Kyrgyzstan, Albania and Afghanistan. The main sectors for Turkey’s bilateral development co-operation were humanitarian aid and refugee support, governance and civil society, and education, health and population.
Turkey’s total amount of OAD provided in 2014 was 3.5 billion USD, it reached to 6.5 billion USD during 2016 which is over the target of 0.7% target of UDA/GNP (Turkey ODA/GNP=0.76% in 2016). During 2018, this amount jumped to 8.4 billion USD.
Naturally it cannot be measured with the US ODA which is 34.6 billion USD. However, this amount enables Turkey successfully to influence the states development programme. In order to sustain such huge aid programme, Turkey has to rectify the structural reforms at home. The biggest challenge to Turkey’s recovery is herself. Since the economic indicator deteriorated largely, it would be harder for Turkey to sustain its influence in the region unless such structural reforms are performed in due time.