Geographic Effects on the Middle Eastern Economy

The Middle East is a term popularized in Britain around 1900 that is used to refer to a world region with no clear designated boundaries that span from southwestern Asia to northeastern Africa. Throughout history, the Middle East has been a major player in world affairs. The Middle East is home to major world religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Among the countries considered to be in the Middle East including Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Pakistan, Sudan, and Morocco.Though the Middle East is used to refer to a geographical, it has no clearly defined borders. The international media has however increasingly considered North African countries without the Asian link as North Africa; these countries include Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. The Middle Eastern climate is basically arid and semi-arid but there in some regions, there are vast forests and fertile areas. The Middle East has many ethnic groups and races including Jews, Turks, Persians, Armenians, Somalis, and Nubians. Arabic and Persian are the most widely spoken languages in the region. Other languages include Somali, Azeri, Greek, Turkish, and Hebrew (Held, p. 7).

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The Middle East does not have a uniform distribution of wealth, the economies range from very poor to very wealthy. Countries like Palestine and Yemen are very poor while Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arabs Emirates are very wealthy. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the three biggest Middle Eastern economies in relation to their Nominal Gross Domestic Product. In 2007 Turkey had a total GDP of $888 billion, Saudi Arabia with $564.6 billion, and Iran with $753 billion (Anderson, p.12). Afghanistan and Palestine recorded the lowest per capita income in the region with each recording $1,000 and $1100 consecutively. Even though most countries in the Middle East are heavily dependent on oil exploration like Iran and Saudi Arabia others have a diverse economic base like Turkey and Egypt, There are numerous industries dealing with a wide scope of products including cotton, oil-related products, dairy, and textile. Unemployment has been a major problem of late with the International Labor Organization reporting that its current rate is estimated to be more than thirteen percent (Anderson, p.12).

One geographical feature that has an enormous influence on a Middle Eastern country is the river Nile. The river, considered to be the longest in the world, could be said to be the backbone of the Egyptian economy. It is the source of water used in vast irrigation schemes used especially to grow cotton. A large percentage of Egyptians live along the Nile River. The geographic location of the Middle East has one of the most important resources in modern times. Oil has a huge impact not only on the Middle Eastern countries’ economies but also their social and political affairs. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq are the three highest producers of oil globally and all come from the Middle East. Given that their vast oil resource is the main source of Western nation’s energy, Middle Eastern countries have benefited a lot from the exports of this resource (Ménoret, p. 47). More than seventy percent of the Saudi Arabian Economy is petroleum-based and at least ninety percent of its export earnings come directly from oil. Saudi Arabia has about 25% of the total world oil reserves. Iran shares a similar profile with Saudi Arabia; At least forty-five percent of the government budget is gotten from oil and gas revenues (Ménoret, p. 47).

In conclusion, many Middle Eastern nations continue to expand their economies at impressive levels thanks to their enormous reserves in oil. Regions such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi are recording an impressive growth of their economies as a result of oil exploration. The whole region is recording economic growth.

Works Cited

  1. Anderson, Ewan W. Fisher: The Middle East: Geography and Geopolitics, Routledge. 2000 pp. 12–13.
  2. Held, Colbert C.: Middle East Patterns: Places, Peoples, and Politics, West view Press. 2000 pp. 7-8
  3. Ménoret, Pascal: The Saudi Enigma: A History Zed Books 2005 pp. 45-61
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