MANAMA: Arab countries must pursue economic and political reforms and improve their infrastructure in order to strengthen their economies, the head of the World Union of Arab Bankers said Wednesday.
“The problem of the economic downturn and the return to growth is indeed the biggest challenge facing the new political systems that have emerged in many countries in the Arab world, and that are now faced with serious challenges with regard to their limited potential financial capabilities and their uncertainty concerning which economic strategy to follow,” Joseph Torbey told participants at a banking conference in Bahrain.
He added the needed reforms had to include measures to help future generations by creating jobs for young people, to ensure quality jobs for men and women and to guarantee their participation in social and political life.
“It is obvious that economic reforms must take place within the framework of political reforms to ensure stability, which is a common goal of all these upheavals and requests for reforms, without which any economy, growth, and decent life is inconceivable,” Torbey said.
He added that although the current vision was blurred, “our region remains under scrutiny, particularly the Gulf region, which recorded acceptable growth rates owing to the reserves of oil and gas.”
“But the Gulf is not just about oil and gas. It is a region rich in skills, scientific progress as well as economic, social and cultural development,” he said.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 04, 2013, on page 5.