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Dr Fakhro addressing the meeting

Key economic programmes 'vital for OIC'

MANAMA, November 28, 2014

The need to develop economic and social programmes in all parts of the Islamic world was stressed by Bahrain’s  Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro yesterday (November 27).

He was speaking at the 30th Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Co-operation of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (COMCEC) in Istanbul, Turkey, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

"The past year had been a challenging one for the Islamic world," he said.

"A number of countries, like Bahrain, managed to avoid much of the contagion from the global crisis, and developing countries continue to show positive growth rates, much above those of developed countries.

"However, with the developed countries continuing to struggle against the forces of recession, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) countries face several challenges because of geopolitical issues.

"These contribute to the flight of foreign capital, weak national currency and increase in inflation in a group of OIC countries, which has far reaching political, economic and social ramifications."

Yet, it is not all doom and gloom, Dr Fakhro stressed.

"The OIC countries' intra-merchandise trade is on the increase. We also need to double our efforts towards closer trade and economic co-operation, and use appropriate mechanisms to benefit from each other's experience and expertise."

The minister urged Islamic countries to focus on developing economic and social programmes.

"This can be achieved through joint efforts and comprehensive strategies, with free trade agreement one of its cornerstones.

"Attaining WTO membership is a major step to create such a free and open environment for trade, and we hope to welcome the rest of OIC countries in the near future."

The minister said Bahrain has benefited immensely from its founding membership of the WTO.

"We know the virtues of achieving global free trade, and of the multi-lateral trading system.

"At the same time we also believe that bilateral and plurilateral agreements can play an important role in facilitating the multi-lateral system, particularly in the light of the stalled Doha Round.

"Those agreements have additional values in reinforcing progress in the local market and pushing the private sector to play its role as the engine for economic growth," he said.

Dr Fakhro reiterated the government's support for the private sector and, in particular, small and medium enterprises "as they do, by far, contribute the lion's share of output and employment."

He also stressed the importance of tourism and said the industry is one of the main engines of the economy in any country.

"It is truly the future industry as services and investments sector that is economically, socially and culturally productive."

The minister highlighted the importance of partnership between the public and private sectors to boost tourism.

"We suggest several elements to reach advanced global levels in this field," he said.

"First, develop infrastructure of tourism industry. This requires looking at tourism as an integrated system, in line with a global perspective and with the contemporary changes and requirements.

"Partnership between the public and private sectors is important. This should be based on clear principles of transparency and dialogue, and reinforcement of equal opportunities, to achieve the required tourism development standards.

"Thirdly, make efforts for tourism marketing and promotion through plans and programmes to attract investments and interact with other markets."

Development of human skills is vital for tourism industry's growth, he said.

The minister also called for the need to update laws and systems to reflect the contemporary spirit and globalisation requirements. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Turkey | economic | Islamic | world | Fakhro | OIC |

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