Arab League Secretary General, Ahmed Abou Gheit, said on Sunday that Lebanon and Jordan have endured a lot for the sake of Arab loyalty.
"The challenges of sustainable development force Arab countries to cooperate and preserve natural resources," Aboul Gheit said in an address he gave earlier on Sunday at the opening session of the Fourth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, which is currently being held in Beirut's seaside arena.
"The Arab experience has proven the fact that development, security, and stability are integral parts of an interconnected system. Many challenges still face the Arab world with development topping all," Aboul Gheit added.
"Our summit was held after a six-year silence marked by the most difficult events that some of our countries have faced - and still are - all associated with the achievement of global development and response to crises and social problems that often accompany the process of growth and modernization," Aboul Gheit said in his address to Arab leaders.
"Although the expected rate of economic growth in the Arab region has slightly improved, reaching 2.7%, it remains insufficient to achieve the desired development boom, without obscuring the interdependence of stability with the political and security conditions that exist. Some of our countries and societies have paid the price for their absence in recent years. Despite the remarkable efforts made in recent years in terms of economic conditions, particularly in the field of infrastructure, transport and communications, the Arab world is still far from achieving its goals," the Arab league Secretary General added.
Abou Ghiet went on to underline the importance of knowledge and innovation in today's world. "They have become the main producer of high added value following the acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with its various modules. More efforts need to be made to bridge the digital gap with other parts of the world, with more than half of the population in the Arab world not being connected to the Internet."
Moreover, he noted that the population of the Arab world was one of the youngest in the world. "If we do not exploit this demographic window, our youth will turn into a burden for the economies and even a driving force and a fertile environment for various forms of religious and political extremism," Aboul Gheit warned.
"The growth required is a human goal. The key here is education, which is the main factor in the construction and accumulation of human capital," he stressed.
"In addition to the urgency of social problems, some of our countries have experienced crises that have caused waves of displacement. Unfortunately, the Arab world is home to about half of the world's refugees and internally displaced persons, just to know that about four million Syrian children have left their schools because of the seven-year war. It is enough to take into consideration the serious humanitarian crises in Somalia and Yemen without forgetting the tragic reality that our people in Palestine are facing every day because of the closure, the blockade, and the unjust practices imposed by the Israeli occupation," Aboul Gheit said.
He concluded by stating the fact that the battle for development in many parts of the Arab world neither took place under normal conditions nor in a favorable environment. "This battle takes place in difficult conditions and a fragile environment. The hope here is to show more solidarity in support of communities, on which these humanitarian crises lie."
Source: National News Agency