Recently, Arab ministers of labor met in Cairo (5/15/2011) to discuss their agenda in light of the spring revolutions in the Arab world.
The main item on their agenda was how to fight corruption, which is deep-rooted in the Arab states in both public and private sectors of their societies.
The ministers have advocated the development of a new Arab social political contract to fight and eliminate corruption at all levels. Furthermore, the participants urged support for an Arab economic development, the creation of an Arab economic market and the free movement of labor from on state to another. The objective behind the strategy is to create a united economic region similar to what has been taking place in many regions worldwide.
In order to expedite the success of the proposed agenda, the participants in the conference called on governments in the Arab world to assume their responsibility in supporting the development of their infrastructures. Emphasis should be placed on improving the quality of education and overcoming the high rates of illiteracy, transportation, communications, electrical power and fresh water availability. In addition, the minsters of labor emphasized the importance of developing small industrial projects to create the opportunity for more employment.
The recommendations of the labor ministers in the conclusion of the 38th annual meeting sounded very good. However, to what extent the governments of Arab states will go to implement the recommendations is unknown.
I do not want to sound pessimistic, but I have heard such recommendations for more than sixty years but government officials remain corrupt.
The idea of an Arab Common Market was proposed in 1947 and politicians keep rehashing the same topic over and over.
The idea of the European Common Market was proposed in 1957. It has been implemented and the European Common Market membership has now reached 27.
The basic problem in the Arab world is that the political leadership has been in a deep sleep. The end result is people revolting against the corrupt leadership in the Arab world. Hopefully, this might open a new chapter in the political, economic and social history of the Arab world. It is time for Arab political leadership to start investing some of their trillions of dollars in the Arab world instead of other regions worldwide. Employment of the young generation is the most important factor for the stability of the region.