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Davos-Forum: "Political stability in Middle East can only be achieved by ensuring stability in region as a whole" (Chahed)

Published the:  22/01/2019

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(TAP correspondent: Faten Barouni) – Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said that "political stability in the Middle East can only be achieved by ensuring stability in the region as a whole", in a speech at a seminar on "The Strategic Vision for the Middle East" at the 49th session of the Davos Forum in Switzerland, held on January 22-23.

During the seminar, which was attended by representatives from Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Palestine, he stressed that the crisis in Libya has had a negative impact on the Tunisian economy as well as the recent return of thousands of Tunisians working in that neighbouring country.

He explained that Tunisia's constant exposure to the threat of terrorist attacks has affected its tourism activity and led to the recession of its economy as a whole, causing financial losses to the country and pushing governments to borrow from various international financial institutions and the International Monetary Fund.

Chahed stressed that terrorism and the costs of its resistance as well as the focus on successful transition and democratisation have represented significant costs to the national economy, reaffirming in the same context his government's efforts to overcome this burden.

The PM underlined the country's low growth rate and high unemployment rate (one third of the unemployed are graduates), stressing efforts to improve the business climate and implement public-private partnership projects and tax reform.

He placed emphasis on the need to accelerate the digitisation of various fields in Tunisia in order to improve social and economic conditions, especially as about 50% of technology graduates go to Europe and America to seek better employment opportunities.

Chahed considered that the problems in the Middle East countries are many, but generally cannot be addressed in their entirety, due to the different policies of these countries and their economies between oil-producing countries and other producers of value-added goods.

For his part, Executive Director of the Bahrain Economic Development Council, Khaled Al-Rumaihi, said that achieving stability in the Middle East requires creating jobs that meet the expectations of these peoples while providing substantial salaries. Al-Rumaihi also stressed the need to harmonise legislation between Middle Eastern countries to ensure successful trade and commercial relations between them.

For his part, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that the development of education and vocational training was the hope for social stability in the Middle East and thus for real development. He stressed the difficulties preventing the export of Palestinian products, particularly flowers to Europe, due to the large number of checkpoints, claiming to rely on Jordan to guarantee freedom of movement.

Hamadallah said that despite its difficult conditions, Palestine was able to improve its GDP growth by 6% between 2015 and 2018