(MENAFN - Arab News) The Kingdom needs a specialized Arab institute for economic knowledge and the development of a spirit of innovation and creativity in various sectors of economic and social life, said the preparatory forum of the third Arab Summit for Economic and Social Development (ASESD). The forum was held on Jan. 12-13.
The forum concluded yesterday by adopting resolutions in economic, educational, commercial and other fields to integrate the Arab market in the interest of facilitating intra-Arab trade.
It called for the establishment of a network to link national investment authorities and the development of joint investment strategies to boost trade and job opportunities in Arab countries.
The forum proposed to hold an Arab summit devoted to education, given the importance of different kinds of educational outputs and specializations based on the needs of the labor market."
The meeting also called on the Arab leaders to provide a political umbrella that would strengthen the role of the private sector in development projects and Arab economic integration, as the real source to enhance the ability to comprehensive, sustainable and actual growth that can create new jobs.
This would help in tapping the growth potential of Arab countries, once the private sector becomes the main source of economic growth, and the main partner of the Arab governments in the formulation of development policies, capacity building and skills directed toward production and innovation.
The meeting also recommended steps to remove the obstacles facing the private sector in the framework of joint Arab economic action (AEA). Reform is desirable and necessary at AEA level, as the obstacles and constraints faced by the investment movement and businessmen as well as the inter-Arab trade are still intact.
The preparatory meeting also called on the Arab governments to provide the political will to secure funding and to overcome delays in linking infrastructure and transport projects for the Arab States.
Arab governments should strengthen efforts to implement the initiative to support and finance private sector projects in small and medium-sized enterprises.
National funds should be established in Arab countries along the lines of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund.
Governments should launch new initiatives to create jobs in vital areas to the development of Arab world.
They should also take practical steps to prevent obstacles to the flow of goods and capital between Arab countries, work toward integration in preparation for a real transition to the Customs Union in 2015, and then the Arab Common Market in 2020
This development should take part in particular in three main areas. A convention should be adopted to facilitate the movement of Arab business owners among Arab countries. All obstacles facing the Greater Arab Free Trade Zone should be removed and the time it takes for transactions and procedures should be reduced, which included trade in services to this region.
Lastly, it would be important to enhance two-way investment and the movement of inter-Arab trade and commercial transportation by completing legislative structures and the necessary infrastructure, and the ensuring to accelerate the implementation of the Arab railway link to projects, via land, sea and air.
The meeting recommended steps to focus on an Arab formal decision policy on joint agricultural and food development aimed at achieving Arab food security. Appropriate mechanisms to develop and modernize institutions, departments and research centers associated with this strategic sector should be provided, as well as appropriate incentives to encourage the Arab private sector not to limit itself to agricultural projects, but also include food processing projects and various economic activities related to food.
To this end, the forum called for a formal adoption of an industrial common policy to accommodate the needs of the private sector and the requirements of the digital industrial environment that need large markets, diversity and flexibility, supporting the modernization and transformation to knowledge-based industries and modern technology.
The forum stressed the role of the Arab banking sector in the development and Arab economic integration, and to take more precautionary measures to support the creation of Arab banking conglomerates.