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‘Economic integration needed amid regional turmoil’

By JT - Jun 18,2016 - Last updated at Jun 19,2016

Hamdi Tabbaa

AMMAN — Arab Businessmen Association President Hamdi Tabbaa on Friday stressed the importance of establishing economic integration among Arab countries, as a means to mitigate the fallout of the past five years of regional turmoil.   

The regional economic outlook continues to be dim, amid the state of ongoing political and security uncertainty witnessed in several Arab countries for more than five years now, Tabbaa said in an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Tabbaa put the Arab countries’ losses at around $245 billion annually, amounting to $1,225 billion in the past five years.

These figures are in accordance with reports of the HSBC Bank that estimate that the losses of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon represent 35 per cent of their annual gross domestic product, Tabbaa said. 

A report of the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation unveils that direct foreign investment inflows into Arab countries were down to $44 billion in 2014 from around $48 billion in 2013, he said.

In 2008, foreign investment in Arab countries reached a record of $96 billion.

In order to deal with the ongoing challenges, Tabbaa also recommended the restructuring of the Arab League, calling for a full makeover, as well as reviewing the overall educational system of Arab countries, to focus on instilling the spirit of creativity and innovation. 

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