Surviving Firms of the Syrian Arab Republic: A Rapid Assessment

Kinley Salmon, Nabila Assaf and David Francis

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8396, April 2018


This paper details the results from a comprehensive survey of private firms in Syria (in Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Latakia, and Damascus) and provides some interesting insights into the impact of forced displacement on private enterprises. The survey highlights the major challenges facing firms in Syria including access to electricity, fuel, and water. Loss of workers, managers, and supply chain relationships are also cited as severe challenges. Three‐quarters of surveyed firms reported a decrease in the size of their workforce since the start of the crisis, due in some degree to loss of life or forced displacement. For the 160 firms that were surveyed in 2009 and 2017, the average number of employees had decreased by more than 50 percent. Firms frequently reported the loss of employees as a major or severe problem (48 percent cited loss of skilled workers, 38 percent cited loss of managers; and 28 percent cited loss of unskilled workers). The paper also identifies the impacts of these problems on prices, sales, supply chains, taxation, and costs. The authors find evidence that some firms have responded by relocating or adjusting their operating hours. The authors note that reestablishing basic services will not be easy, but the bigger, more intractable challenge for Syria’s local enterprises will be restoring security and recovering from the devastating loss of life and mass displacement of people.