By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) - Economic growth across Europe and Central Asia is slowing, with regional growth estimated at 1.8% for this year, according to the World Bank on Wednesday.
In a written statement, the World Bank Group said this estimate -- the lowest in four years -- reflects slowing growth in both Russia and Turkey, the region’s two largest economies.
"Regional growth was hindered by marked weakness in Turkey, which suffered from substantial financial market stress, as well as sluggish activity in Russia amid oil production cuts.c
"But there was robust growth in other parts of the region, such as Central Europe and Central Asia, as well as the South Caucasus," it said.
The group noted that economic growth in the emerging and developing countries of Europe and Central Asia was 3.2% last year.
"Regional growth is expected to pick up in 2020-2021, as Turkey recovers from its sharp growth slowdown and Russia strengthens," it added.
"But there are significant downside risks to this outlook, chief among them a sharper than expected slowdown in the region’s most important trading partner, the euro area, as well as the escalation of global policy uncertainty," said the statement.
The World Bank stated that slower growth in the region parallels a global downward trend and underlines the need to boost productivity growth and increase investment -- which has been declining over the past decade.
"In Europe and Central Asia, worsening demographic trends -- including the shrinking size of the working-age population -- add to these challenges," the group said.
"Migration can contribute to prosperity in the region," said Asli Demirguc-Kunt, the World Bank's chief economist for Europe and Central Asia.
"Migrants disproportionately tend to be of working age and can therefore ease demographic pressures by increasing the size of the labor force, raising productivity, and boosting growth," she added.
The share of immigrants in Europe has rapidly increased over the last four decades, with one out of every three immigrants around the world now going to Europe, the group said.