From The Jordan Times:
Arab labour ministers, unionists, regional and international organisations gathered in Amman on Sunday to tackle rising unemployment in the Arab world.
In the 36th Arab Labour Conference, which was inaugurated yesterday by Prime Minister Nader Dahabi, deputising for His Majesty King Abdullah, over 430 participants met to discuss ways to create jobs in the region, particularly in light of the global financial crisis.
Addressing participants in the eight-day event, Labour Minister Ghazi Shbeikat said the unemployment rate among Arab states stands at around 14 per cent, accounting for some 17 million jobless individuals, adding that the regional rate is among the highest in the world.
"It is important to boost joint Arab cooperation in order to address this alarming number. This can only be attained by facilitating the pan-Arab movement of skilled labour," Shbeikat said, adding that cooperation between the public and private sectors is vital in creating employment opportunities.
He highlighted the importance of implementing resolutions made during the Arab economic summit held in Kuwait earlier this year, particularly cutting the regional unemployment rate in half by the year 2015.
The unemployment rate in the Kingdom in the first quarter of this year amounted to 12.1 per cent, compared to 12 per cent during the same period in 2008, according to the Department of Statistics.
Meanwhile, Arab Labour Organisation (ALO) President Ahmad Lokman said the Arab labour market needs to create 5.5 million job opportunities annually in order to tackle unemployment, adding that over the past two years, around three million jobs were created region-wide.
For his part, Arab League Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Mohammad Tuwaijri said Arab states must unite efforts in the face of the global economic crisis, noting that despite an abundance of wealth and human resources, Arab economies still lag behind other advanced countries.
Around 326 million people live in Arab states, whose overall gross domestic product (GDP) stands at around $1.47 trillion, Tuwaijri said, adding that this figure is “modest” compared to European countries such as Germany, whose GDP stands at $3 trillion, and has a population of around 82 million....MORE