Minister’s call to help poor Arab nations

February 20, 2012 - 11:06:11 pm

DOHA: Qatar’s finance and economy minister yesterday called on wealthy Arab states to make investments in poorer fellow Arab countries that are battling unemployment and poverty to help create jobs and enable them to taste economic prosperity.

H E Yousuf Hussein Kamal said rich Arab countries should review their investment strategy and route some of their wealth into countries that are their poorer cousins.

This way, they (rich Arab states) would help create employment opportunities in these countries so they could witness economic progress and prosperity, he suggested.

The Minister was interacting with the media informally after opening a key Arab Businessmen’s meet that began here yesterday to discuss the impact of Arab Spring on Arab economies, and particularly on the economies of the affected states.

This is the first convention of Arab businessmen being held after the Arab Spring.

“Sacrifice on the part of some Arab states is needed if we have to see the less resourceful among the Arab countries and their people prosper,” the Minister said.

Economic reforms can be a strenuous process as its focus is on empowering the poor and people in limited income brackets.

The Minister said that some Arab countries like Egypt had been witnessing fairly high growth rates at six to seven percent but the fruits of the growth were shared by a few and not the entire population.

What’s the use of an economic development whose fruits do not percolate down to the lower levels of social strata and everyone benefits, he wondered.

The Minister said it was important that the governments in Arab states, whether they are transitional or stable, introduce radical economic reforms so they achieve reasonable economic growth.

And while introducing these reforms the governments must take into account the demands of their people. “What the Arab world today needs is united action,” said Kamal.

The Minister hinted in this regard that if wealthy Arab states make investments in poorer fellow Arab nations they can help create employment on a large scale in major sectors of those countries. Arab states today need to review their economic development plans and make efforts to ensure that these plans are more comprehensive and have foresight, the Minister hinted.

The Peninsula