The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) made today the following statement in Marrakech at the end of the conference entitled "Opportunities for all: growth, employment and inclusion in the Arab world ", co-organized by the Government of Morocco, the IMF, AFESD and AMF: "The Arab countries and other countries in the region offer tremendous opportunities, thanks to a young and talented population, a very rich history and culture and abundant resources. However, this region still faces big challenges. The persistence of regional conflicts, decline in commodity prices, low productivity and poor governance have hindered its considerable potential. Growth has not been strong enough to significantly reduce unemployment, which reaches the high rate of 25% among the youth. This region has the opportunity to cultivate the talents of its young people and its women and to take advantage of the global economic recovery to accelerate reforms and boost growth and job creation.
"The Marrakech conference was an opportunity for policymakers and representatives of the private sector and civil society to discuss the current prospects and challenges of the region. As a follow-up to the 2014 Amman Conference, which helped shape policies to boost employment, growth and equity in the Arab world, the Marrakech conference focused on the specific policies to be adopted in finding new sources of growth and measures to overcome barriers to implement these policies and make growth more inclusive. These priority objectives are summarized in the Marrakech call for action (ACT NOW) which urges countries to act now by implementing a series of measures or reforms in the following areas:
- Accountability: Increase transparency and strengthen institutions to improve governance, fight corruption and take responsibility of inclusion policies.
- Competition: Make the private sector more dynamic by improving access to financial services and the business climate, decreasing the barriers and reducing administrative measures.
- Technology and Trade: Benefit from technology and encourage trade to generate new sources of growth, create jobs and promote prosperity.
- Fight against marginalization: Build strong social protection systems and strengthen legal rights to empower disadvantaged populations, including the youth, women, rural people and refugees.
- Opportunities: Increase and improve social spending and quality investment and make taxation fairer to stimulate growth, improve the lot of citizens and more equitably distribute the reform effort.
- Workers: Invest in people and reform education to prepare workers for the new economy.
"The conference participants noted that while progress has been made in recent years toward these priority goals, much more needs to be done.
The Marrakech call for action will guide the IMF, AFESD and AMF in their dialogue with policymakers and other stakeholders in the region. It will form the basis for a package of measures that we will recommend to governments, the private sector, civil society and international financial institutions to increase growth and living standards in the region and create a more prosperous future. In addition, more external funding, preferably in the form of grants, will be needed to assist the region, particularly post-conflict and war-displaced populations. Conference participants recognized that it is incumbent on all to foster stronger and more inclusive growth, which is of vital importance not only to the region but to the rest of the world.
"The IMF, AFESD and AMF are pleased to have had the opportunity to hear the views of all participants and to discuss with them during the conference as part of our ongoing partnership with the region. We would like to express our thanks to the Kingdom of Morocco, the King, the Government, and the Moroccan people for their warm and generous hospitality. We also thank the Prime Minister, Mr. Saad Eddine EL OTMANI and the Minister of Finance, Mr. Mohamed BOUSSAID and his dedicated team for organizing this conference. Finally, we thank all participants for making the conference successful and their commitment to promoting inclusive growth. "