BEIRUT, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- The cost of the conflict in Libya since its outbreak in 2011 has exceeded 576 billion U.S. dollars, a new study issued on Wednesday by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) reported.
Dubbed "Economic Cost of the Libyan Conflict," the report noted that the conflict in Libya has drastically shrunk the economy as reflected in the large decline in gross domestic product (GDP) and in investment rates.
It said that consumption has also decreased due to the massive return of foreign workers to their home countries and reduced incomes of Libyan citizens.
Foreign trade has been disrupted by a significant reduction of exports in some key products such as oil. However, the impact has been much higher on imports, mainly due to a contraction in the construction and building sectors.
The report also noted some major factors that have exacerbated economic losses, such as the destruction of capital assets in the oil, construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors, the decline in oil prices on global financial markets, and the diversion of resources from health care, education and infrastructure to military spending.
It added that the repercussions of the conflict in Libya have spilled over to neighboring countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan, with which Libya has important ties in trade, investment and employment.
"Peace in Libya requires a plan for reconstruction and recovery based on effective and transparent economic governance and rehabilitation of sectors affected by the conflict," said Tarik Alami, director of Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Division at ESCWA.