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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Feb 24, 2010

The Arab World Food Sufficiency

During their annual meeting in 2009 in Doha, Arab leaders discussed the problem of food sufficiency in the Arab world. Arab countries are not food sufficient. They rely on imports to meet their needs. The leaders called for a meeting of experts the following year to formulate a strategy for agricultural development in Africa. They did.

Ministers of Agriculture, Arab League Representatives, and member of the African Union met in Sharm el Sheikh on February 15, 2010. The participants agreed to form a technical committee, which will develop a policy for agricultural development in Africa. They also recommended the creation of a consortium whose members will be recruited from Arab financial institutions, African development banks and some Arab investors to raise $50 billion to be invested over 15 years for the proposed project. The project will be presented to Arab leaders at their upcoming meeting in Libya in the Sprint of 2010.

The suggested project is very important and should be supported by every Arab leader for the following reasons:

First, Arab countries rely on food import to meet their basic needs. They spend around $30 billion on food import every year. This project should also be viewed in light of the population growth. Demographers anticipate that Arab population will double or exceeds 650 million people by the year 2030.

Second, the global weather change and the increasing temperature have already impacted the Arab world. There are less rainfall and longer draught period. Since only1/3 of Arab land is suitable for cultivation and depend on rainfall, the global weather change will in turn have a negative impact on food production.

It should be of interest here to stress the fact that nearly all-Arab countries are classified as water poverty-stricken. With less rainfall in the region and an increase in temperature, the possibility of more desertification is expected in the region.

The proposed $50 billion to be invested in agricultural development should be doubled. Arab oil producing countries, which have invested more than $1.3 trillion in Western economies and lost nearly $300.000 billion of their investment during the economic melt down (2008-09), could easily raise the funds for the proposed project.
Food sufficiency for the Arab world is a policy that needs to be implemented in order to maintain political and social stability in the region.

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