By Sami Zaptia.
Amman, Jordan, 11 May 2014:
The . . .[restrict]Governor of the Central Bank of Jordan, Ziad Fariz, said that the Arab Spring has increased the economic problems of the region in the short term, including unemployment. There was also an increase in deficits, especially in the non-hydrocarbon producing states.
The Central Bank of Jordan Governor was speaking at the opening of the “Building the Future: Jobs, Growth and Fairness in the Arab World” conference that started today in Amman Jordan for two days.
The conference is organized by the Government of Jordan, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and the IMF. There are several Libyan participants at the conference, including the Central Bank of Libya Governor, Saddek Elkaber and a number of leading NGOs. Encouragingly, Libyan women’s NGO’s dominate with their presence amongst the Libyan contingent.
Continuing, Fariz, said that the growth rates of the region prior to the Arab Spring did not help the problems of unemployment either, despite attempts at political and economic reform. He also felt that there lacked a clear vision by the policy-makers. He felt that comprehensive reforms were needed in order to face the challenges and lead to the desired economic growth.
Growth had to be achieved in education, the labour market, finance, and commerce, including better cross-border trade between neighbours. Fariz said that the region needed to learn from past mistakes and improve their institutional development, the relationship between the private and public sector, install a better legal framework, achieve diversification of revenues especially in added-value pproducts which create job opportunities.
Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad, the Director General of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development also felt that the Arab Spring has added to instability in the region and noted that whilst the average unemployment rate in the region was 14.6 percent in 2010, it has now risen to 17 percent. Security is one of the main challenges that faces the region, he stressed.
Al-Hamad said that the region needed brave reforms and a clear vision by policy-makers, in order to tackle the problems. We must encourage the private sector, women and youth, he added. Every state has its own challenges – some short term, some long term, he explained.
He noted that the international community had a role to play in these reforms, but that the transitional states needed to take responsibility by organizing their strategies and visions.
Masood Ahmed, Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department of the IMF, said that he hoped policy-makers could walk away with implementable ideas in their own countries. He hoped they could profit from the experiences of others, yet find specific solutions to their unique challenges. [/restrict]