COVID-19 policy responses in the Arab region: Limited fiscal space and lack of effective social protection systems

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit the Arab region hard both in terms of human casualties and socio-economic ramifications. To mitigate the effects of the pandemic, countries had to rapidly find solutions despite resource limitations and challenging circumstances. The present policy brief sheds the light on social protection interventions as part of wider fiscal support measures implemented by Governments in the Arab region to cushion the repercussions of the pandemic on private households. It focuses on intra- and cross-regional differences in social protection spending using information and figures of public announcements issued by Governments and tracked by the COVID-19 Stimulus Tracker of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).