Posted on February 08, 2020

The State of Qatar chaired the 105th session of the Arab Economic and Social Council meeting at the ministerial level that took place at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Arab League.

The meeting will prepare a number of economic and social issues that will be submitted to the regular Arab summit scheduled for the end of March. Minister of Finance, H E Ali bin Shareef Al Emadi stressed, in a speech given after the State of Qatar was handed over the chairmanship from the State of Palestine, the importance of the meeting in advancing joint Arab work and enhancing the scope of cooperation in all economic and social fields between Arab countries. His Excellency added that the State of Qatar looks forward to more cooperation in all fields of joint Arab work, and specifically the issues that are currently on the meeting’s draft agenda.

H E the minister said that the draft agenda includes many items, the most important of which is the economic and social issues scheduled for presentation at the Arab summit scheduled for next March, a follow-up on the implementation of the decisions of the 104th session of the Economic and Social Council and of the decisions of the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, including the initiative of H H the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah regarding the establishment of a fund for the digital economy with a value of $200m.

Qatar has provided support in the amount of $50m, with the State of Kuwait providing an additional $50m that are managed by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, adding that he expects the fund’s statute to be completed in the near future.

He highlighted that one of the important topics that the member states must work on is Expediting the removal of all obstacles facing the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) in a manner that will assist in launching the Arab Customs Union. His Excellency added that one of the achievements at the economic level was the agreement on liberalization of trade in services among the Arab countries, adding that Qatar supports the outcome of the experts meeting that took place in Rabat two months ago. The experts agreed on preparing a new draft of an Arab investment agreement and the minister expressed hope that these meetings will end successfully.

The agenda of the meeting includes several important items, particularly preparing the economic file of the Council of the Arab League for the Arab Summit scheduled for the end of March, the follow-up to the implementation of the decisions of the fourth Arab-African Summit (Malabo - Equatorial Guinea 2016), and preparing the economic aspects for the fifth summit, in addition to the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) and the developments of the Arab customs union, along with other economic and social items. The Arab Economic and Social Council will also consider the recommendations adopted by the Economic and Social Committees of the Council during their meeting on Wednesday.