A general view of the opening session of the Arab League Second Economic Forum (Photo: Reuters)
A large number of Arab leaders, monarchs, foreign affairs ministers and businessmen are expected to take part in the second Arab Economic and Social Development summit set to be held today in Sharm El-Shiekh, Egypt.
11 Arab leaders out of 22, including Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika , and the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, will convene to discuss fostering economic integration among Arab countries.
Meanwhile, Arab businessmen will provide their recommendations to the Arab leaders, including speeding up the implementation of projects introduced during the 2009 summit in Kuwait such as transportation infrastructure between Arab countries, free movement between countries, and a Customs Union.
Recommendations introduced last night by the most prominent Arab businessmen included a proposal to establish a fund for Arab investments with procedures for arbitration and dispute settlement between the countries through the Arab League. Egyptian Taycoon Naguib Sawiris proposed that an Arab fund especially designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) be created, and businessman Khaldoun El-Mawqea proposed the establishment of an Arab court to resolve any disagreement or disputes between countries, as well as a unified Arab investment law. Other ideas are scheduled to be discussed by Arab leaders tomorrow.
Sudanese President al-Bashir will present the latest developments in Sudan, focusing on the future relationship between the north and south in light of the south’s secession referendum, and on the mechanisms through which the Arab countries could provide economic support to Sudan.
In addition, Arab foreign ministers and the Economic and Social Council of Ministers of Economy and Trade will raise their agendas today and will draft resolutions approved during Tuesday’s sessions, including the maritime linkage project aimed at increasing inter-Arab trade, the internet linkage project, and the World Bank's initiative on supporting development projects in the Arab region.