Arab governments cannot afford to forgo deepening economic cooperation  and should accelerate efforts to restabilize the region, top bankers and officials said over the weekend at the closing of the Annual Arab Banking Conference in Beirut .
“Arab countries should build up economic and developmental cooperation through a new institutional framework,” a policy paper issued on the occasion said.
“[Governments] should reconsider the role of Arab developmental funds and set their work in motion through providing the needed financing.”
The paper said that governments should also work toward regenerating the middle class, which is key to boost the region’s economies.
“[Countries should] move toward allowing a greater role to the middle class, which can open new horizons for growth if this is done while developing sectors capable of creating jobs for millions of youths entering the labor market,” the statement said.
Another policy recommendation put forward was to harmonize legislation across the region.
“[The Union of Arab Banks] will start a strategic unit to lobby for the introduction of legislation needed to boost economic development.
“Arab banks  should make their voices heard and play a more important role in political changes taking place in the region ... particularly given that preparing constitutions is fundamental to countries’ [development],” the statement read.