Syria is a developing country with GDP per capita of $4,800 (2010 estimate), making it one of the poorer countries in the world. The country has a diversified economy primarily dependent on services, energy and agriculture. The unit of currency is the Syrian pound (SYP).
Syria's economy suffers from low investment and inefficient public sector enterprises, thanks to centralised and restrictive government control. As a result, there is relatively low agricultural and industrial productivity. This is largely a legacy of socialist economic policies that the Syrian government had adopted in the 1960s.
Efforts are being made to make the economic system more efficient. Private banking was legalized in 2001. Significant reforms were made with regard to rental and tax laws.
Only one-third of Syria's total land surface is arable. The government strives to achieve self sufficiency in food production and inhibit the migration of its citizens from rural to urban areas.
A period of continuous infrastructure development and capital investment together with input subsidy has enabled Syria to be known as an exporter of foodstuffs like vegetables, cotton and fruits. This has been made possible by the construction of extensive irrigation systems in north and northeastern Syria in recent years. Principal agricultural products are sugar beets, barley, wheat, olives, chickpeas, cumin, mutton, eggs, milk and poultry.
Syrian Oil industry
Syria's oil production is approximately 400,400 barrels per day (2009 estimate). Crude oil exports form a major part of the country's total export income. A number of foreign companies like United States based ConocoPhillips has completed a natural gas production facility. Other companies like Gulfsands and Devon Energy has also invested in Syria.
The State of the Syrian Economy
The services sector contribute the most to GDP. It constitutes 55.6% of the total, agriculture constitutes 17.6% and industry 26.8% accorsing to 2010 estimates.
Investment is 21.5% of total GDP. Labor force consists of 5.527 million persons while the rate of unemployment is 8.3% (2010 estimates).
Syria faces considerable challenges in its economy. Unemployment among the labor force of 5.527 is in excess of 8.3% (2010 estimates), and this is leading to unrest as part of the 2011 Arab Uprisings.
Syria continues to receive economic aid, but that figure has been declining. It received $213 million in economic aid in 2008.