In Egypt, Arab economic and finance ministers have been meeting to consider proposals for increased economic cooperation between their countries.
In Egypt, Arab economic and finance ministers have been meeting to consider proposals for increased economic cooperation between their countries. The Arab League has suggested that its 22 member states should hold a summit meeting to work out a strategy for cooperation.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting began at Arab League Headquarters in Cairo on Tuesday (20 September) and it was opened by the league's secretary general, Mahmoud Riad, seen here on the left talking to Mahmoud Tourki, Saudi Arabia's deputy economics minister.
One of the main items on the agenda was 'food security' in the Arab world. The ministers were planning to discuss ways of increasing food production, a vital issue because a Saudi Arabian report has shown that one third of the land in the Arab world suitable for agriculture is uncultivated. The report added that 78 percent of the cultivated land depends on rain for irrigation, rather than artificial methods, and it wasn't producing enough to feed 140 million Arabs. Self-sufficiency for the Arab countries was strongly recommended.
Another topic under discussion was the establishment of an Arab monetary market. Last December the league's economic council approved the idea in principle and called for further study by Arab central banks. Those studies suggested a first step of encouraging investments among member nations and helping to consolidate the activities of the Arab banks. That stage could be followed by the money market itself.