Clinton urges more productivity, economic
Web posted at: 1/31/2006 3:4:59
Source ::: The Peninsula
Former US President Bill Clinton urged countries in the
Middle East to push for increased productivity, economic
diversification and a larger skilled workforce to build
an evolving economy.
told the conference on the Middle East's Economic
Future, which opened yesterday, that governments must
assess their policies and exert efforts to provide the
infrastructure and the capital necessary to create new
business opportunities in areas beyond oil, gas and its
He also called for genuine effort to streamline
regulations to create successful and sustainable
business opportunities and set up a system of ongoing
education and training both to get as close to a hundred
percent of young people in the general years of
schooling as possible and to increase the number of
people going into university education.
He said that the model that has been adopted in Qatar
with the creation of education city and the setting up
of several educational institutions was stunning and a
model to be followed.
also pointed out that there is a need to maximize the
brain power of each country, which means there will have
to be more women in workforce than there are now,
particularly in skilled positions.
In order to build a diversified economy with many small
businesses, he said, a significant and constant source
of consumer capacity has to be guaranteed.
"Thought has to be given to whether there is a minimum
wage in a country and whether it is adequate and whether
there is a system of unemployment insurance where there
is higher unemployment, because you can't really build a
small business economy unless you have a strong consumer
base", he said.
He added that attention should be given to the capacity
of a country to train people for business and put stromg
emphasis on business education and how to manage
information technology which is a key to productivity
gave as an example the situation in the US, noting that
the big contribution of information technology in
America's growth in the 1990s came from its integration
in every other aspect of the economy
“Everything from inventory management of small
businesses to the maximization of IT requires the
knowledge of modern systems that can be taught, but
requires a certain parallel number of people who
understand this thing in every nation if you really want
to diversify an economy and increase productivity", he
Replying to a query, Clinton noted that in a traditional
society as is the case in the region with guaranteed
sources of income from oil and people owning substantial
amount of cash, it is hard to promote change.
"When you start to move away from oil, it is frustrating
to see that lot of the capital going into the real
estate development, but it is the next asset close at
hand, but it does create a certain number of jobs", he
He added that in order to go beyond petroleum and its
related industries and real estate, there is a need for
political, financial, governmental and social changes,
all of which are triggered when political participation
is broaden and the way people are educated change.