The recent escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas has the potential to significantly impact global economic development, warned Ajay Banga, the president of the World Bank, during an investor conference in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at the annual Future Investment Initiative, often referred to as “Davos in the Desert,” Banga expressed serious concerns about the economic repercussions of the ongoing violence in the region.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas intensified on October 7 when Hamas militants entered Israel from the Gaza Strip, resulting in a tragic loss of life. According to Israeli officials, at least 1,400 people, predominantly civilians, were killed.
In the Israeli bombardments of Gaza, more than 5,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed, as reported by Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.
Banga emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “What just happened recently in Israel and Gaza — at the end of the day you put all this together, I think the impact on economic development is even more serious.” He underscored the dangerous juncture the world finds itself in due to the escalating conflict.
The ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza presents a stark contrast to the vision of a more stable and prosperous Middle East advocated by Saudi Arabia. The nation has been working towards fostering a more peaceful environment, as evidenced by its efforts to rebuild ties with Iran and engage in discussions about recognizing Israel before the outbreak of the recent fighting.
The three-day Future Investment Initiative has attracted more than 6,000 delegates and features appearances by global banking chiefs, along with the participation of the presidents of South Korea, Kenya, and Rwanda. Amid these global conversations about economic development and stability, the Israel-Hamas conflict serves as a grim reminder of the challenges facing the region and the world at large.