x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Unemployment could rise in region

A conference in Doha hears unemployment in Arab states could rise on the back of the global economic crisis.

Unemployment in Arab states, already running at 15 per cent according to United Nations figures, could rise even further on the back of the global economic crisis, a conference in Doha was told today. "We must get to grips with the impact on development and the employment market in the Arab world of the crisis shaking the world and disrupting financial markets," Ahmed Luqman, the director general of the Arab Labour Organisation, told the Arab Forum on Development and Employment.

"The Arab nation must be in danger, with a high unemployment rate hitting our countries for the past two decades," he told participants who included around 20 Arab ministers. On top of 17 million people unemployed, Arab nations need to create jobs for the four million young people who enter their employment markets each year, Mr Luqman said. Amat al Alim Alsowa, head of the UN Development Programme's regional office, said the unemployment rate averages 15 per cent in the Arab world.

But it reaches 40 per cent among people aged between 15 and 24, totalling 66 million out of the total Arab population of 317 million, of whom one third are under 14, she said. The severity of the jobless rate "is an enormous challenge for Arab countries and their economies, even for their stability because of the effects of the global crisis and the risk of recession in the world," warned Amr Mussa, the secretary general of the Arab League.

The forum's conclusions will be submitted to the Arab Economic Summit, scheduled for January in Kuwait, which will focus on poverty and unemployment. *AFP