Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby recently warned of the danger of rising unemployment in the Arab world, stating that the average unemployment rate in the region reached 16% in 2011, more than twice the global average.
He said the main contributing factor to rising unemployment was the inability of governments to attract foreign, Arab and local investment. A press release from the secretary general’s office stated that “direct foreign investment in the Arab world, which was $90bn in 2010, dropped to $43bn in 2011, representing a 37.4% decrease”.
In a speech given in front of a joint Arab Investment and International Cooperation Conference hosted by the Arab League and the Arab Women Investors Union, El-Araby emphasised the need to create a positive investment environment in the Arab world. Achieving this would allow the flow of foreign and local capital, mobilise the region’s economic resources, and encourage the launching of intra-Arab business ventures in a way that would support sustainable growth and development and raise the standard of living of the region’s citizens. He added that such measures would reduce unemployment and poverty, create job opportunities and help encourage the development of local commerce.
A positive investment environment, he said, was one that protected the rights and interests both of investors and the governments of the states in which they operate.