Statement by the International Monetary Fund, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and Arab Monetary Fund at the Conclusion of the Conference on Promoting Growth, Jobs, and Inclusiveness in the Arab World
January 30, 2018
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), and the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) made the following statement today in Marrakesh at the end of the conference on “Opportunity for All: Promoting Growth, Jobs, and Inclusiveness in the Arab World,” which was co-hosted by the Government of Morocco, IMF, AFESD, and AMF:
“The Arab world and other countries in the region hold enormous promise, including a young and talented population, a rich culture and history, and resource-abundant economies. Yet the region continues to face formidable challenges. Protracted regional conflicts, low commodity prices, weak productivity and poor governance have held back the considerable potential of the region. Growth has not been strong enough to reduce unemployment significantly and a staggering 25 percent of young people are jobless. The region has an opportunity to harness the talent of its youth and women and take advantage of the global upswing to accelerate reforms and spur growth and job creation.
“The Marrakesh conference provided an opportunity for policymakers and representatives of the private sector and civil society to discuss the ongoing challenges and opportunities in the region. Building on the Amman conference in 2014—which helped define strategies to boost jobs, growth and fairness in the Arab world—the Marrakesh conference focused on the specific policies needed by identifying new sources of growth and measures to overcome obstacles to implementation and make growth more inclusive. These priorities can be summarized in the following Marrakesh Call for Action which calls on governments to “ACT NOW”—to pursue a set of actions or reforms that promote:
- Accountability: increase transparency and strengthen institutions to improve governance, tackle corruption and ensure responsibility for inclusive policies.
- Competition: foster a more vibrant private sector through improved access to finance and a better business environment with fewer barriers and less red tape.
- Technology & Trade: leverage technology and nurture trade to generate new sources of growth, create jobs, and foster prosperity.
- No one left behind: build strong safety nets and strengthen legal rights to empower disadvantaged groups, including youth, women, rural populations, and refugees.
- Opportunity: increase and improve the quality social and investment spending and pursue fairer taxation to support growth, lift-up citizens and share the burden of reform more equitably.
- Workers: invest in people and reform education to equip workers for the new economy.
“Conference participants noted that while some progress had been made toward achieving these priorities in the past several years, much remains to be done. The Marrakesh Call for Action will guide the IMF, AFESD, and AMF as we engage with policymakers and other stakeholders in the region. They will form the basis for a set of recommended policy actions for governments together with the private sector, civil society and international financial institutions, to raise growth and living standards in the region and generate a more prosperous future. More external financing, preferably as grants, will also be needed to support the region, particularly to help post-conflict countries and those displaced by war. As was recognized at the conference, more robust and inclusive growth is a shared responsibility and vitally important not only for the region, but also for the rest of the world.
“The IMF, AFESD and AMF appreciate the opportunity to listen and exchange views with all participants at the conference as part of our ongoing partnership with the region. We would like to express our appreciation to the Kingdom of Morocco, the King, the government and the people of Morocco for their generosity and great hospitality. We would also like to thank Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Otmani and Finance Minister Mohamed Boussaid and his dedicated team for the organization of the conference and to all the participants for making the conference a success as well as their commitment to advance the inclusive growth agenda.”