x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Many ways for the GCC to help North Africa

Readers have their say on taxis, school closings, the role of television, and events in North Africa.

A Tunisian shopkeepers watches Libya's Muammar Qaddafi on television. Two readers suggest various ways that the GCC can help the countries of North Africa. Jim Hollander / EPA
A Tunisian shopkeepers watches Libya's Muammar Qaddafi on television. Two readers suggest various ways that the GCC can help the countries of North Africa. Jim Hollander / EPA

I refer to your editorial Investment can build a bridge for North Africa (March7). "Targeted investment and employment boosts" is a very fuzzy term, much like the potential fate of the Qaddafi regime as Libya's complex tribal and oil landscape emerges.

How do you target investments in the absence of assured investors, and how long would it take before markets calm down enough? Boosting employment can only be done if there is enough decision making going on, which, by definition, there isn't. Planning for such will easily take many months, even with a laser focus.

There is a much better and quicker way. The GCC should announce that it will guarantee Egyptian, Tunisian and other countries' government bonds: the principal in the long term and interest due for the next two to three years.

This will immediately create a global investor appetite looking for risk-adjusted returns, and rapidly build investor confidence, averting stock market collapses and unbounded capital depletion. Other steps will follow on their own.

The fact that the GCC is already considering assisting Bahrain and Oman could make such an overall step attractive and decisive. At worst, the GCC ends up paying a small fraction of these obligations since it is only providing long-term insurance, but in a critical way.

In all likelihood, such an action will build more growth across all Middle East markets, and create goodwill between the public and the rulers, exactly what the public (and now world opinion) demands.

A similar action by the US saved Latin America in the 1980s from complete financial disaster, resulting in full repayment and long term growth prospects that continue today.

Athar Mian, Abu Dhabi

I applaud your raising this issue of targeted investment for Egypt and Tunisia. I see these changes as positive and hope it will be seen this way.

I hope that this time the big picture will be looked at, and that serious efforts will be made by the GCC leaders to tackle the issues first to the nearby region - Yemen, Oman, Bahrain - and secondly in the larger region, tied to progress towards accountability, openness and transparency, starting with Egypt and Tunisia.

The GCC should clearly indicate that these resources (including debt forgiveness) will be available also to other countries willing to make changes, Sudan and Syria in particular.

Tarig Monim, Dubai

Open new schools before closing old

In reference to the news article Abu Dhabi's villa schools will have to close by 2013 (March 8), I'm guessing a lot of these schools exist because the parents can't afford to pay the tuitions charged by "safe and healthy" schools in Abu Dhabi.

Doesn't it seem more logical to finish building more schools before closing these? With 30,000 students added to wait lists, where will they go when their parents can't afford school?

Donald Glass, Abu Dhabi

Taxi speedway at The Dubai Mall

My concern is the speed at which the taxis drive. I work inside The Dubai Mall and encounter these crazy taxi drivers everyday. Even though there is a speed limit of 20kph, the taxis still drive like crazy.

At walkways going into the mall, taxis do not stop or slow down or even give pedestrians the right of way.

The Dubai Mall is supposed to be family-orientated and safe. What about all the kids running around?

Action needs to be taken before someone gets injured.

LM, Dubai

Stranded workers need more help

The news article Unpaid, underfed and stranded (March 7) reported on 400 unpaid labourers from India, Pakistand and Bangladesh who have been stranded at a camp east of Abu Dhabi.

How can this be allowed to happen? This is just another example of the poor masses without a voice being cornered and no matter which way they turn, they come up against a brick wall of archaic laws.

The whole sorry episode is symptomatic of the lack of application of commonsense and compassion.

Adil Ali, UK

Two new words emerge from TV

English is going through tremendous changes. Lots of new words are added every year, especially in India, the largest English-speaking community. Recently, I heard two new words: "wowest" and "awesomest". They are used regularly by a host on an Indian TV dance show, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. They convey a meaning of superlative.

Kanwar Hayat, Dubai