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13 April 2012

OIC promotes investment to generate employment

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Jeddah: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has, at the intergovernmental level, embarked on series of activities to foster investment mobilization and employment generation among its member states, particularly those affected by the "Arab Spring", OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in his address at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Session of the General Assembly of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) held in Istanbul, Turkey Thursday.

Ihsanoglu further said the spiraling unemployment, coupled with apparent economic recessions, has been considered as the root cause of the on-going socio-political turmoil in some of our member states, which is popularly referred to as "the Arab Spring".

He noted that the official development assistance to OIC countries has fallen during this period by $9 billion, while their net food imports have reached $126 billion in 2009. Similarly, the sovereign and corporate assets and savings were drastically affected, thereby leading to perennial balance of payment crises in the member states.

"In order to address this disturbing phenomenon, the OIC has, at the intergovernmental level, embarked on series of activities to foster investment mobilization and employment generation among its member states," said the secretary general. This included the poverty alleviation strategies and capacity building activities, micro-finance, vocational training, food security and provision of social infrastructures.

In addition to direct interventions in enhancing competitiveness and productivity of OIC economies, the activities of the various OIC institutions have focused on creating enabling environment to enhance the contribution of the private sector to sustainable economic growth and development in OIC countries. The three agreements under the OIC Trade Preferential System (TPS-OIC) have entered into force, with negotiations underway to define the appropriate tariff concessions, which will stimulate increased flow of goods and services within the OIC market, which is 1.5 billion strong.

While examining the modalities for enhanced public-private partnership in OIC countries, Ihsanoglu underlined the favorable investment climate existing in OIC countries.

Ihsanoglu praised the President of ICCI Sheikh Saleh Kamel for his wisdom and leadership that brought unprecedented dynamism in ICCI activities since he took office in 2005 which coincided with the adoption of the historic Ten-Year Program of Action in Makkah. He especially praised Sheikh Kamel for enhancing the role of the private sector as a catalyst for rapid economic transformation in the member states.

Ihsanoglu said the meeting is taking place at the time when the entire world economy is still recovering from the triple financial, food and energy crises of the recent past and which greatly affected the economies of OIC member states, particularly the least developed countries (LDCs) which account for more than one third of the OIC membership. It led to a steady decrease in the flow of investment to OIC countries, while at the same time raising the level of unemployment, especially among the youth, to an all-time high.

The session is held under the patronage of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and with the attendance of the President of the Islamic Development Bank Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Ali and the President of Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchange Rifat Hisarciklioglu.

(Courtesy: Saudi Gazette)

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