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Prime minister urges collective regional economic solidarity

By Omar Obeidat - May 12,2014 - Last updated at May 12,2014

AMMAN –– Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Monday called on Arab policy makers to work together to arrive at remedies for the economic challenges facing the region. 

Addressing participants at the high-level regional conference organised by the government, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the premier said challenges facing Jordan are not different from those in other regional countries. 

"Our region is undergoing fundamental economic and political transitions. Regional policy dialogue among policy makers is no longer an option," Ensour told participants during a lunch hosted by the government, urging development stakeholders to engage in practical discussions to agree on key priorities that aim at raising the living standards of the people. 

Earlier on the day, the prime minister and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde were panelists in a session titled "economic transitions in the Arab world: What are today's challenges?"

At the session, Ensour said rich regional countries need to offer more financial and economic assistance to less fortunate neighbours, adding that when both groups grow richer they would both enjoy stability, and avoid dangers caused by poverty and unemployment. 

Lagarde indicated that creating more employment for the youth requires a comprehensive approach that involves reforms in many areas, including redefining the role of the state away from being an employer to becoming an enabler for a dynamic private sector, creating education systems that provide bridges to productive employment, designing labour market regulations that protect workers without constraining employers and establishing a business climate conducive to greater competitiveness.

"Reforms in all these areas will take time, but we have to start the process now. In the short run, and if sufficient additional external financing can be mobilised, scaling up public investment could make an important and visible contribution to reducing unemployment," she said.

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