The Arab Economic Summit,
19-20 January 2009,
State of Kuwait

Speech of
His Excellency President Abdul Aziz Bu Tafliqa
In the Arab Economic, Developmental and Social Summit



In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,,,



And peace be upon his Apostle, His Family and His Companions till the day of judgments,,,


His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,,,

Their Majesties,,,

Their Excellencies and Their Highnesses,,,

His Excellency, Secretary General of the Arab League,,,

Ladies and Gentlemen,,,


I would like to first direct my greetings to the people, government and leadership of the beloved Kuwait, for their warm reception, hospitality, and for the excellent preparation for this economic, developmental and social summit.

 

I would like to also thank His Excellency Mr. Amr Mossa, the Secretary General of the Arab League for his excellent efforts exerted in preparation for this summit.

 

Our summit is being held under very dangerous political condition that threatens our nation; a condition that requires its unity and solidarity more than any other time before. The barbarian aggression launched by Israel on the occupied Gaza strip calls for us all to reject the status quo, to call for stopping the aggression, to condition leaving the blockade imposed on Gaza, and to continue our efforts for achieving the fixed rights of the brotherly Palestinian people to have their own states, with Jerusalem as it capital, and to regain all the Arab occupied territories.

 

This additional page in the record of agony and suffering of the Palestinian people, shared by all our nation, imposes on us to reconsider the concept of Arab national security, particularly its economic side, which is the core of this concept. In this concern, we hope that this summit forms a qualitative leap in the common Arab work and to establish the foundation for a strong economic group in our area based on the belief that blocking is our only way to be able to confront marginalization, and fellowship in the world of globalization.

 

Our summit is considered a historical one that is being held under the shadow of an international financial crises of consequences not yet known to us, either in the field of power or environment. Such crises represent strong challenges before the international community in general and to our area in particular.

 

Mr. President,,,


The challenges that we are ahead, and which the international community has to confront in the beginning of the 21st century, can not be compared to those of the previous century due to the acceleration of the phenomenon of globalization, which increased the affiliations among nations. Such comprehensive challenges require global answers that can be achieved through supporting wise ruling on both total and organizational level, to be able to confront the financial crises, consequences of which started to hit our exports, the flow of external direct investments, touristic income and the transfers of abroad workforce.

 

The crises resulted from the weakness of the management of international financial affairs, and the Arab countries should fully participate in identifying methods of confronting its challenges, particularly in negotiations related to cash management and future international financial affairs.

 

The power crises caused by the depletion of fossil fuels, and complicated further through the increase of global warming, imposes different types of power consumption over the international community, and forces it to look for alternative power sources by gradual resorting to environment friendly and renewable power sources, in addition to securing such sources in economic prices.

 

One of the challenges of this century is to reach, through discussions, to introduction of such power forms. the Arab countries should be ready to unit for confronting the challenges of renewable power sources, as its capabilities in the field of solar power are considerable.

 

The challenge of atmosphere change forms a part of the power change and is, no doubt, one of the most difficult challenges our planet should confront during this century. Its effects can be felt in draught, desertification, flows, lack of water, and increase of sea level. however, it seems that the future consequences are worse due to the migration of population from certain spots of the world due to climate change, and its economic and political effects.

 

It is expected, as per experts, that the Arab world be affected by the climate changes, and our countries should coordinate together for confrontation of this challenge, via a unified view in the debate commenced by the international community for confronting this phenomenon.

 

The challenge of food security, which is relatively important for eliminating poverty and which was enlisted among the developmental millennium goals, is still unfortunately threatening a considerable part of the population in our area. This threat can be eliminated by setting and applying an essential farming strategy that allows for utilizing all our agricultural land, particularly in the countries that do not suffer much of water rarity.

 

Our area enjoys the financial and technical resources as well as the skills required for the success of such efforts. Such strategy should be packed up with our unified efforts on the international level, particularly for reaching a sound result in Doha negotiations session, granting farming the extreme priority.

 

Mr. President,,,


The challenges I mentioned are the most important but not the only ones. There are a lot more, including terrorism, cross borders drug trafficking, cross borders crimes and AIDS.

 

Effective and comprehensive confrontation any of these challenges shall not be possible without comprehensive efforts. Regional work seems equally important to us, due to its merits as a framework for the obliging strategy for countries of one destiny, and as a tool serving integrated change.

 

Countries that formed regional blocks in Europe, South Eastern Asia, Latin America, and today in Africa realized the importance of such groups, and their participation in enhancing their international negotiation abilities, and the welfare of their nations. There is doubt that it is time for moving into a new phase and a qualitative change on the road of building a regional group that enjoys credibility and harmony.

 

Our historical and cultural common heritage, the geographical connection and the strategic location of the Arab area, the availability of both human and natural resources, particularly power, the availability of financial resources and organizational systems of more than half century of age represented in the Arab league as set by the Arab leaders, and the strong political will are all merits and advantages that makes achievement of this goal possible within reasonable periods of time.

 

There is not doubt that working on the establishment of this group requires highlighting the economic integration factors it will be established upon, in addition to achieving harmony among the economic policies of our countries as well as between different sectors that shall comprise the anticipated group, including the educational sector, scientific research, and social sector.

 

Such a group requires the accomplishment of a number of major Arab projects structured as identified during preparation for this summit in the fields of electrical network connection, railway network connection and in the fields of water resources and food security. Trade, no doubt forms one of the very indicating pointers of the lack or our integration in the current time.

 

While the share of developing countries of international trade increased considerably during the last few years to reach 34% of the international exchange, representing one of the important changes in our era in the field of international economic relations, interchanges among Arab countries do not surpass 13% of the total trade of our countries, despite the several integration fields existing among our economies.

 

In this concern, I am glad to announce, through this summit, that my country has completed last month the procedures related to joining the Arab free trade zone.

 

In addition to trade, Arab inter-investments provide considerable possibilities for developing our economies and availing wealth. While the current time witnesses an important development in establishing joint ventures with Arab capital, and others from industrial countries, the percentage of organizations in which the Arab countries share remain bumble despite its recent development.

 

I am quite confident that the appearance of contemporary private sector organizations of high performance lately shall support the public sector organizations in developing our area, both economically and socially, in view of our capabilities and efforts. The average development level of human resources in our area is still one of the weakest worldwide, either on the level of health or women participation in development.

 

In addition, the use of information and communication technologies is still humble in the Arab area. I am sure that improving our performance in these areas shall lead to the welfare of our nations, which should not be only our objective, but our binding condition on both the economic and social levels.

 

Mr. President,,,

Algeria has regained its stability along the past decade, and commenced a vast operation of developing and modernizing its economy. Based on this, it launched a program for supporting growth and privatization for the period from 2005 to 2009, for which more than US$ 200 billions were allocated. This program is starting to fruit and its benefits are being touched by both the citizens and the economic dealers as well as investors. This program basically covers major projects in infrastructure like the highway connecting the eastern and the western areas of the country, developing railway transportation, water transfer projects, the establishment of one million houses, and developing the high plateaus area and the southern area.

 

The said program shall also allow Arab partnership to enter into new dynamics that will enhance by Algeria's joining the Arab Free Trade Zone. We have exerted a considerable effort to adopt our legislative, organizational and legal frame, and reformed it to be more brim of traits and flexibility for better enhancement of economic activities and investments, in addition to modernizing our banking sector.

 

The process of enhancing internal and external balances of our economy is clearly reflected in the main indicators of 2008 where a total economic growth percentage of 6.1 was achieved, excluding the fuel sector, which is a percentage that encourages me to direct my speech to Arab investors saying that Algeria is witnessing a growth that can be shared.

 

Mr. President,,,


The great potentials of our countries are valuable gains that can be a strong foundation for establishing a strong and reliable group, Capable of confronting the negative consequences of globalization, and to respond to the anticipation of our people of a common future that matches its historical and civilizational heritage. There is no way but adopting a rational and wise course supported by follow up mechanisms and effective financing to pass all the phases of this way, and to be able to avoid any doubt of the success of this project which is very decisive for our nation.

 

This will be the price of our successful integration into the world economy, and joining the effective parties in the everlastingly changing world.

 

 

 

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