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Arabs, Africans need focus on sustainable human development
November 19, 2013, 7:38 pm

Arab and African leaders meeting here on Tuesday called to promote human development in their regions through joint steps on poverty eradication, sustainable development, increased trade and providing job opportunities.

At the Third Africa-Arab Summit, which aims to focus on partnerships on investment and development between the two regions, the leaders called for cooperation on forming mechanisms to improve the industrial, health, education, culture, technology, energy water and transport sectors.

They also pointed out the importance of solving political disputes in order for these kinds of partnerships to flourish, and supporting economies currently going through political transitions.
The leaders also mentioned the need to form a joint mechanism on illegal migration and another which addresses women's empowerment.

The two regions are combined by cultural, social and geographic proximity and this can aid their plans for cooperation, suggested Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdullatif Al-Zayani.
As they possess huge financial, natural and human resources, this strengthens the need for further partnerships, much to the support of the Gulf Arab geopolitical bloc.

The Arab Parliament chief Ahmed Al-Jarwan stressed the need to encourage investment opportunities and to tackle unemployment and illegal migration. The importance of mechanisms devoted to development programmes on the economy, health, education, culture, technology and energy spectrums and women's empowerment were other issues he said should be addressed.

He also called on the need to support peace and post-conflict rebuilding efforts. Similarly, on post-conflict Libya, President of the General National Congress Nuri Abu Sahmayn and Co-Chairperson of the past summit held in Sirte said that Libyans come with "an open mind" for cooperation on trade with nations of both regions.

This is the first summit held after the revolution, which has brought in many opportunities for Libyans to open a new page towards the development of their country, he added.

The former regime had been an obstacle to this development, he said, referring to the opportunities this transitional shift has provided his nation, along with others in both regions going through these circumstances.

After praising His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait's USD one billion easy loan initiative to African nations, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby pointed out challenges the regions are faced with, namely terrorism, conflict and political shifts.

He also focused on cooperation on renewable energy sources, which are found in abundance in Africa.
Promoting human development through increased trade, poverty eradication and sustainable development were needed to be focused upon, veiwed the representative of the Non-Aligned Movement chair, Iran, and envoy of the Iranian president, Finance Minister Ali Tayeb Nia.

These measures should also include foreign direct investment to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, he added. Human development and assistance would help both achieve their common objectives in integration and investment, said special representative of the prime minister of Britain, chair of the G8, State Minister of Development Alan Duncan. Britain is at the forefront of these two sectors, he said, and it is unfortunate not much has been done on this. The Chinese president's special representative and Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liquo stressed that there was "no development without peace and vice versa." Meanwhile, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson stressed that the Arab and African regions should focus on the issues of peace, women empowerment, job opportunities, human rights and sustainable development.

The two regions need to work together to respond to the aspirations of their people, he said.
He referred to a visit by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Sahel region, where he had witnessed a strong commitment for peace and reconciliation. In Somalia, for instance, there are steps being tyaken to improve education, he noted.

Eliasson went on to note to the need for South-South trade cooperation, which the UN fully supports.
Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) are still required to be reached, and he urged the nation to work towards achieving these goals.

He also highlighted the need to address the environment, the solving of disputes, particularly in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, along with the issue of Palestinian statehood. Deputy President of the World Bank Sri Mulyani Indrawati noted to the solving of disputes, particularly in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, along with the issue of Palestinian statehood. The African continent is rich in mineral resources and raw materials, she said, stressing the need for strong leadership and sound financial institutions to work together on increasing investment and economic partnerships between the sides.

In conclusion, President of the Republic of Gabon, Co-Chairperson of the 2nd Africa-Arab Summit, Ali Bongo Ondimba said that the summit was being held amidst numerous social and political transformations and conflicts, adding that this requires intensifying efforts in order to achieve development.

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