The Syrian economy contracted by at least 55 per cent in the first five years of the country's grinding civil war, and recovering just to the 2010 pre-war level could take at least a generation, the International Monetary Fund estimates.

A new report from the Washington-based crisis lender summarized the economic impacts of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, including the region's refugee crisis, which has spilled over into Europe.

In the report, IMF staff postulated an optimistic post-conflict growth rate of 4.5 per cent, roughly the average of a broad range of countries since 1970 that emerged from wars with at least 10 years of peace.

Even with that "relatively high" annual growth rate, as the report described it, Syria's economy would take at least 20 years to return to pre-war size.

"These are staggering numbers," IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in an IMF blog article published Friday. "Conflicts leave deep marks on economies."

Even buoyant growth after an end to the Syrian war could be fleeting, because many conflicts end not cleanly but with a period of lingering instability.

"Post-conflict countries typically remain for some time in a hybrid state where political and economic progress alternates with phases of temporary reversals and setbacks to the peace and rebuilding processes," the staff report said.

Post-conflict uncertainty and recurring violence can disrupt investment and economic development.

"These dynamics have harmed recoveries in several countries in the [Middle East and North Africa] region, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan," the IMF report said.

"After initial successful recoveries, recurrent bouts of conflict forced policymakers, and economic agents more generally, to reassess the scope for rebuilding efforts and structural reforms."

Latest news

Messi's last minute penalty saves Barcelona from shock draw

Barcelona beat Leganes 2-1 with a last minute penalty from Lionel Messi in the Spanish first division on Sunday.

At least 30 injured after explosion in Bogota

A explosion in the Macarena area of Bogota injured at least 30 people on Sunday, many of them police officers who were guarding a bull running through the streets of the Colombian capital.

Vojvodina institutions hold conference on Bunjevci's non-Croat ethnic background

There are around 16,000 members of the Bunjevci community in Vojvodina who deny their Croat ethnic background. They are represented by the Bunjevci National Council which enjoys the support of state authorities, and, since the change of government in Vojvodina, of the provincial authorities as well.

SpaceX rocket blasts off from historic launch pad en route to ISS

A commercial rocket built by SpaceX is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with a load of research equipment, cargo and supplies, NASA said Sunday.

Defence deals worth 1.2 billion dollars announced at key UAE show

Deals worth nearly 4.4 billion dirhams (1.2 billion dollars) were reached at a major defence show that opened Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an official said.

Thousands protest in Malta against controversial press law reforms

Thousands of people attended a demonstration in Malta on Sunday, answering a call by the main opposition party to protest against what it described as a threat to democracy and freedom of expression.

London's mayor calls for Trump's state visit to be cancelled

US President Donald Trump should be denied a state visit to Britain due to his "cruel and shameful" immigration policies, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Sunday.

'Now more than ever': US scientists gird for confrontation with Trump

Normally any annual gathering of American scientists is relatively non-political. But, with Donald Trump in the White House, things are different at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Many researchers are worried about their future and are urging colleagues to protest - and remain vigilant.

Int'l conference on post-war monuments in post-communist Europe held in Zagreb

The event was organised by the Zagreb-based association SF:ius in cooperation with the Croatian chapter of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Serbians wouldn't go to war for Kosovo - poll

A majority of citizens in Serbia wouldn't go to war to claim back Kosovo, shows a survey conducted by the Serbian nongovernmental organisation "Belgrade Centre for Security Policy".

Grabar-Kitarovic, Lavrov find solution to air pollution caused by Bosanski Brod oil refinery

Croatia and Russia have found a solution for the problem of air pollution caused by a Russian-owned oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been poisoning residents of Slavonski Brod, a town across the Sava River in Croatia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Munich on Sunday.

Istria border police discover 20 migrants in van

During routine border control, police in the northern Croatian Adriatic region of Istria on Saturday discovered 20 migrants in a van driven by a Croatian national, the Ministry of the Interior said.