Al-Khouri calls for adopting the mentality of challenge and innovation as a pillar of development in the Arab region

Date: 24 - 05 - 2023


His Excellency explained, Dr. Ali Mohamed Al-Khouri, Advisor to the Council of Arab Economic Unity and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Federation for Digital Economy, that the global geopolitical and economic transformations imposed a new global reality, and that development systems can no longer keep pace with them except through new and different intellectual and executive mechanisms and tools. This came during his participation in the main session of the seamless Middle East Digital Economy Technology Conference and Exhibition 2023, which will be held from May 23-24 at the International Exhibition Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In his speech, Al-Khouri reviewed the political, economic and social transformations that the world is witnessing, which he described as putting the Arab region at a critical juncture, and it became imperative for it to choose between two things, either to continue with the same approach, or to stop to evaluate and review whether the plans set are on the right track, and that it is to face challenges. It has become necessary to rethink and delve deeper into Arab economic policies, and their ability to deal with sufficient flexibility and effectiveness with emerging domestic and international crises.

Al-Khouri explained that the task of governments and policy makers is complex, and requires comprehensive analysis and thoughtful solutions, but despite that, challenges come with gigantic opportunities that can contribute to enhancing the comprehensive Arab economic development process. But that requires adopting the mentality of challenge and innovation, and benefiting from technologies and adapting them in developing the productivity and competitiveness of social and economic systems, and working to activate the mechanisms and fields of Arab-Arab action.

In his speech, Al-Khouri referred to a set of complex and restrictive challenges for the Arab economy, including high unemployment rates, especially unemployment among Arab youth, as the Middle East and North Africa region occupies the highest unemployment rate among youth in the world, at a rate of 30% in 2022, according to the Labor Organization. International, and that this is a very disturbing indicator that indicates a defect in the educational systems and the labor market, in addition to the challenge represented by the skill weakness of the human forces in the Arab region, which struggle to keep up with the requirements of upgrading the level of professions and high-tech crafts, indicating that the countries of the Middle East and North Africa region occupy It ranks well below the global average in digital skills, according to a World Bank report for the year 2022, which restricts the competitiveness of Arab countries in the global economy.

Al-Khouri also stressed that the Arab countries are in urgent need to diversify their economies and accelerate the steps of digital transformation in the region, especially since the Arab economy is still absent from the scene of real economies based on knowledge and technology, which is confirmed by the poor classification of the majority of Arab countries in the Global Innovation Index, where it ranks Most of them are noticeably late.

The advisor of the Council of Arab Economic Unity reviewed a number of solutions for a safe exit from these challenges, and that the urgent need for change calls for a review of current work methodologies, and a move towards adopting innovative solutions that usually involve a culture and mentality of challenge, not the mentality of imitation and rumination.

He stressed that the Arab region needs to invest in human resources, and develop the educational system and training and vocational training programs that meet the needs of the global economy. And that achieving economic diversification must coincide with the expansion of investment in vital sectors such as industry, technology, agriculture, and tourism, which would create new job opportunities, stimulate innovation, and enhance the flexibility of Arab economies to face the fluctuations of global markets.

Al-Khouri called on the Arab countries to work on self-sufficiency in strategic and basic materials and commodities, to mitigate the impact of disruptions in global supply chains, and that this can be achieved through local production, storage of strategic reserves, diversification of trading partners, and requires reconsideration and the establishment of new alliances that serve national and regional goals.

He also explained the importance of central banks implementing a set of monetary and financial policies to support the stability of the national currency, protect confidence in its markets, contain inflation, address the trade balance deficit, and encourage investment in productive sectors.

Al-Khouri also stressed the importance of preparing the Arab world for future changes and proactive interaction with them, such as the upcoming challenge represented in the transition towards low-carbon economies as an environmental necessity to confront climate change, and so as not to contradict the global consensus that is currently moving with determination and seriousness towards these goals.

In the conclusion of his speech, His Excellency the Advisor to the Council of Arab Economic Unity called for the inevitability of working to strengthen regional cooperation and economic integration in the Arab region, to pool resources, build knowledge and technology, increase Arab negotiating capacity on the global stage, and benefit from unitary power to advance economic development and ensure a prosperous future for the Arab peoples.