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The Finance Ministers meeting in progress ahead of the Arab Summit
Amir’s initiative to finance SMEs wins praise: Al-Saleh Council okayed draft resolutions reflecting consensus among Arab states

KUWAIT CITY, March 22, (KUNA): Kuwait’s Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh said here on Saturday that the draft resolutions issued by the Arab League’s Economic and Social Council at the level of Finance Ministers praised the progress in the implementation of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah’s initiative to provide financial resources to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Al-Saleh told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) following the meeting that the Arab countries’ pledges to the initiative have so far amounted to $1.308 billion out of the $2 billion capital. The finance ministers also approved draft resolutions regarding the preparations for next year’s Arab economic summit, establishing the Arab Banking Commission and the Grand Arab Investment Zone.

The Kuwaiti minister added that the Arab League Economic and Social Council also approved draft resolutions reflecting consensus among Arab countries and keenness to bring about success of next week’s summit. Al-Saleh added that the Economic and Social Council urged the Arab states and the Arab Transport Council to exert more efforts to work on removing obstacles that hamper execution of the Arab railroad linkage networks. He added that the Arab and international financing institutions were urged to finance the power grid projects through grants and easy loans. The council also welcomed the memorandum of understanding endorsed by the Arab Ministerial Electricity Council as a basis for the establishment of the joint Arab electricity market, he said. He pointed out that the council welcomed the resolutions of the Social Council concerning ‘Abu Dhabi Development Fund’ which expressed keenness to finance some of the integrated water resources ahead of executing the projects. He said the draft resolutions of the council stressed the need for continuing the economic reform march in the Arab countries, developing the foundation work atmosphere and investment guarantees for the activation of the private role in the investment sphere.

Importance
It also stressed the importance of the private sector in the active participation in the Arab forums with regional blocs particularly the businessmen council and investment seminars. The minister said that the draft resolutions also called on the Arab, regional and international financing organizations to assist the Arab countries to own or lease of ships, in addition to calling the Arab private sectors to increase investment in the maritime transport sphere. He added that the draft resolutions reiterated the need for the Arab states to intensify their participation in the working team entrusted with the execution of the Arab internet linkage project.

The Arab League Secretariat has been entrusted to organize workshops to make the various sectors in the Arab countries aware of the gains that may be achieved once the Arab internet linkage project is implemented. The draft resolutions pointed to the World Bank’s initiative in the Arab world, in addition to the efforts exerted to execute this initiative. The draft resolutions also pointed to the efforts exerted by the Arab Ministerial Council for water aimed at ensuring sustainable water resources and sanitation services.

The minister said the draft resolutions took note of the efforts exerted by the Arab Housing Ministers aimed at securing appropriate housing care for poor and random neighborhoods. He added that the council reaffirmed support of the Palestinian people in confronting the Israeli practices including judaizing of Al-Quds as well as altering the city’s geographical and demographic nature. They also called on Arab states which have not yet ratified the Unified Arab Capitals Investment Agreement to do so as soon as possible. The conferees became acquainted with the completion of the preparation of a road map for the implementation of the Arab Strategy for the development of renewable energy 2010-2030. They also called on the Arab financing funds to contribute in the execution of the renewable energy projects. The resolutions also called on the Arab countries wishing to take part in the joint holding Arab bourses to support the bourse.

Al-Saleh added that the joint Arab companies have been urged to take necessary measures according to their general assemblies to complete their work on increasing their capitals by no less than 50 percent. The draft resolutions entrusted the Arab League Secretariat (Economic affairs sector) to hold a coordination meeting with representatives of the joint Arab companies to discuss measures related to the special decision concerning the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and provide a report in this respect to the Economic and Social Council.

The minister added that the council assigned concerned committees to prepare for social and economic development summits and to implement approved resolutions and eliminate any hurdles or obstacles that might face execution of these resolutions. A work team assigned to develop joint social and economic action should present its findings to the next Economic and Social Council meeting, he pointed out. Al-Saleh pointed out that the meeting assigned Arab League Secretariat to conduct necessary studies related to the establishment of a Grand Arab investment zone and refer it to the Council for discussion.

Expressing appreciation for the Arab League’s chief for his initiative in making use of the renewable energy resources in the Arab world and assigning the Arab Ministerial Council of electricity to take necessary measures to utilize these renewable resources. He added that the meeting assigned the Arab League Secretariat to set up a mechanism to coordinate social and humanitarian aid to help Arab countries in crises.

 

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