Manama: Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa called for an integrated approach and synchronised efforts to foster inclusive economic growth, while incorporating environmental sustainability.
He said that the Gulf region had the potential for progress and prosperity, and identified priorities in this regard, such as more diversified economies, employment, social inclusion, enhancing the role of youth and women and ensuring gender equality.
In his statement to the 93rd meeting of the development committee, held in Washington DC on the sidelines of the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund meetings, the minister stressed the need to develop a vibrant and dynamic private sector, and reach optimal productivity. Crucial elements are addressing infrastructure gaps, increasing access to finance and improving the business environment.
The statement was delivered on behalf of Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Yemen.
“Attracting foreign direct investment will be crucial for stabilising economic growth,” said Shaikh Ahmed in his statement. He urged the WBG and its global financing agencies to continue their work on improving the investment climate in the region, while encouraging economic activities and maintaining financial stability.
On behalf of the Arab group, the minister highlighted the crisis of displaced people in the Arab world. Considerable resources should be mobilised to address the development and humanitarian aspects of the crisis, which increases pressure on infrastructure, labour markets, social services and natural resources, among others.
The World Bank needs to develop a comprehensive crisis response strategy and mechanism, comprising early warning systems, crisis prevention, preparedness and mitigation, said the minister, adding that development and humanitarian aspects of the crisis are closely correlated.
He said that collaboration, solidarity and shared accountability must reinforce and frame the mitigation of this escalating crisis.