Saudi King unveils new Arab financing plan
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, of Saudi Arabia, unveiled Monday an initiative to raise the capital of Arab financial institutions by at least 50 percent in order to keep up with the growing demand for funding development projects in the Arab world, especially in poor Arab states.
The initiative was made public by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, during the third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit being held in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
The summit brought together leaders from around the Middle East to discuss ways of improving inter-Arab trade and Arab economies.
“I avail this opportunity to call for increasing the capital of Arab financial institutions with no less than 50 percent of its current value, as agreed by the governors of those institutions, in order to keep up with the growing demand for funding Arab development projects and supporting Arab countries, particularly the least developed countries.” Crown Prince Salman said on behalf of King Abdullah. The statement was carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA)
He also called for increasing the capital of existing joint Arab companies with no less than 50 percent of its current value, in order to expand businesses and enhance participation with Arab capitals private sector.
“The role of private sector in the global economy is growing. The Arab private sector is urged to take the initiative in leading the growth in the Arab world, through increasing the volume of inter-Arab trade and investment exchange. Arab governments should make every effort to overcome obstacles facing Arab private sector and to create the right environment to encourage the flow of inter-Arab investments,” the crown prince added.
He said urgent developmental issues facing Arab countries such as poverty, unemployment and disease need to be addressed and eradicated.
The monarch also called for completing efforts towards establishing the Grand Arab Free Trade Zone by 2015, according to SPA. He also addressed the need to increase the pan-Arab trade through International Islamic Trade Corporation.
A recent economic report claims unemployment in 2011 stood at 16 percent in Arab countries where 17 million people out of 300 million are jobless, according to AFP.
At the same time inter-Arab investments stood at a mere $25 billion across the region.