Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri calls for economic development

The Daily Star – Beirut
May. 14, 2017 | 11:42 AM


Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri addresses delegates at the Doha Forum in Qatar, May 14, 2017 (The Daily Star/ Dalati Nohra)







Prime Minister Hariri on Sunday called for job creation across the Middle East to boost regional stability and counter extremist ideology.
“This goal can only be achieved through the stimulation of economic growth and full partnership between the public and private sectors”, Hariri said, speaking at the 17th Doha Forum in Qatar.

“In the age of globalization, extremism has become globalized, and so have terrorism and dangers”, he continued. “There is no way to confront them except by a globalized response”.

Arab countries have particular and common challenges, the premier said.
Lebanon has nearly two million refugees who fled the conflict in neighboring Syria.
“This raised the poverty rate to 30 percent and doubled the unemployment rate to 20 percent, and to more than 30 percent among the youth”, he said.

The impact on Lebanon’s institutions and infrastructure has been acute.
For instance, Syrian students in the classroom outnumber Lebanese students, but nearly 50 percent of Syrian students drop out of school, Hariri said.
“The World Bank estimates the total loss suffered by the Lebanese GDP as a result of this crisis till the end of 2015 at more than $18 billion, and the figure today is approximately $25 billion”, he said.
More than two years of political paralysis, including the absence of a president, also set the country back, Hariri added.
However, with the breakthrough that led to the election of President Michel Aoun and the formation of the government, things are improving.

The government is working on law which will form the basis for future public-private sector partnerships, he said.
“We also launched a group of reforms to revive all sectors of our economy. Here I thank the Arab funds that have always supported the development projects in all Lebanese regions”.
Hariri also met with Qatar’s Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. They discussed developments in Lebanon and the region, as well as bilateral relations.
Hariri also met with Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Later, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani held a lunch in Hariri’s honor.
Dubbed “Development, Stability and the Refugee Crisis”, the 17th Doha Forum covers regional and international developments, economic development and the economic, political and humanitarian aspects of the refugee crisis.