Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia are the only countries in the region to experience an intermediate risk to tourism activity. Countries that depend heavily on tourism face elevated economic risks amid the coronavirus crisis, said the Economic Vulnerability Index of the European Investment Bank (EIB) released on Thursday.
The index results showed the pandemic and restrictions on the movement of people have wiped out tourism in many countries. A global recession is expected to diminish tourist revenues long after restrictions are eased. The index revealed the highly affected countries depend on tourism for 60 percent of their GDP.
The EIB index measures the vulnerability in countries outside the European Union (EU).
Half of low-income countries and 25 percent of middle-income countries face the highest risk of COVID-19 outbreak, while 56 percent of high-income countries face an intermediate level of risk, along with 63 percent of middle-income economies and half of the poorest countries, according to the EIB’s index results.
Lebanon is one of the highest vulnerable countries in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood. The majority of countries in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Central Asia (ENCA) are in the intermediate vulnerability group, with the poorest two, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, falling into the highest vulnerability category.
The index also showed that about half of the African countries, the Caribbean and the Pacific are among the most vulnerable, with almost all of the remainder falling into the intermediate vulnerability group.
Remittances were affected as well by the pandemic. Several countries in the ENCA region are among the most vulnerable to drops in remittances, mainly from Russia. In the Southern Neighbourhood, that includes Egypt, close to 40 percent are in the highest vulnerability group, according to the index.