(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Planning and International Cooperation Minister Jafar Hassan on Wednesday said the main challenges facing the region's countries, especially non-oil producing countries, are the slow economic growth and the widening financial deficit.
In an address at the 27th ministerial session of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which opened yesterday in Beirut, he said governments and development institutions should pay a great deal of attention to small- and medium-sized private sector projects in light of their contribution to the economy.
The theme of the 27th commission session is "The Role of Participation and Social Justice in Achieving Sustainable and Balanced Development".
Hassan stressed the importance of supporting and providing more financial facilities, especially to remote, rural and underprivileged areas to meet residents' needs and to establish income-generating projects, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.
The minister, representing Jordan at the meetings, also emphasised the need to provide owners of small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs with technical assistance to ensure the sustainability and the success of their projects.
"It is important to urge commercial banks to use their surplus cash to meet the needs of individuals who wish to start new projects," he told the participants.
The minister commended ESCWA's role in stimulating economic and social development and in promoting cooperation among the different countries of the region.
Besides addressing the main theme, ministers from ESCWA member countries will discuss other main topics, including the ongoing preparations for the Rio20 conference in the Arab region, and inclusive Financing in the ESCWA region. In addition, ESCWA will launch a cyber legislation guidelines project, according to ESCWA's website.