Speeches & Transcripts

Arab League: Extraordinary Ministerial-Level Session of Economic and Social Council

December 27, 2010

Mahmoud Mohieldin Egypt

As Prepared for Delivery

Statement of Mahmoud Mohieldin, Managing Director

Translated from the original Arabic Statement

Cairo, December 22, 2010


Mr. Chairman,

His Excellency Mr. Amr Mousa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States

Honorable Ministers,

At the outset, it is an honor for me to be invited to participate in this important Ministerial Council meeting at the Arab League.  I also would like to convey to you the World Bank's appreciation of this invitation and its readiness to cooperate fully in a manner conducive to achieving the Arab World’s economic and social development goals.

In the framework of the World Bank's Arab World Initiative (AWI) and the letter from the President Robert Zoellick to His Excellency the Secretary General of the Arab League dated December 13, 2010, and with reference to the recent meetings of Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, Vice President of the Bank for MENA, it is an honor and pleasure to inform you:


  • AWI is underpinned by principles of partnering and support for comprehensive development and enhancement of cooperation opportunities among the Arab world.

  • AWI includes all Arab states members of the Arab League.

  • AWI ensured responsiveness to clients’ needs and addresses priorities specified by Arab countries through, the Annual Summit meetings; Biennial Economic and Social Summit Meetings as of 2009 held first in Kuwait; and the bilateral and multilateral agreements concluded among Arab countries to strengthen cooperation among them.

In this context, the World Bank will assist in providing finance needed for supporting such projects, in addition to advisory services and technical assistance as well as institutional capacity building in order to facilitate success of the implementation of these projects. This will avail international experience gained by the Bank through its cooperation and work with the 187 member countries.

In the context of continued cooperation with the Arab League and resolutions of the first Arab Economic and Social Summit as well as intensive meetings with Ministers of Economic, Finance and Social Development and Arab World Bank Governors, there are three main thematic areas of cooperation:

First: Infrastructure Projects

1.     Electricity connecting projects between the Arab countries.

2.     Renewable energy projects  supporting power generation capacity in the Arab World, we will capitalize on the extensive works supported by the World Bank in such projects and enhancing their value added and local components specially in CSP projects

3.     Projects for linking Arab seaports in the manner initially agreed by Arab ministers of transport.

4.     Railway projects linking various Arab countries, as announced recently by the Secretary General of the Arab League

5.     Highways and road network supporting transport between the Arab countries.

6.     Extending the internet network and its infrastructure and assistance for the Arabization of contents.  

To achieve these projects, the World Bank can provide financial support for developing financial markets, particularly mid- and long-term local currency financing to support such projects.  The Bank can also provide technical assistance and advisory services to develop technical, oversight and management capacities for success of such projects.

Second: Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development

Development of micro, small, and medium enterprises as economic activities that contribute to job creation, especially for the youth, and economic growth in the Arab countries.

In this respect, we stress the importance of the progress made by the establishing of the Arab Small and Medium Fund issued with capital amounting to US$ 2 billion as one of the significant results of the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Kuwait.

The World Bank is providing financial and technical support to numerous countries with the objective of developing the micro, small and medium enterprises sector, through the activities of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA), and in partnership with other international and regional financial institutions.

Moreover, the World Bank is cooperating with a number of regional initiatives to provide technical support and training as well as skill development and assistance in enhancing the capacity of these enterprises, and strengthening the business development services.  The Bank also provides needed expertise for micro enterprises through CGAP.

Third: Human Development and Improving the Quality of Education

Investment in human capital is one of the most important pillars, which requires great efforts to make it a success.  It is related to investment in people in different aspects of human resource development, including scaling up the quality of education, and the provision of vocational training programs.

  • In this respect, the World Bank looks forward to demonstrating to countries members of the Arab League results of the recent Education Strategy which is being finalized and its applications, which is built on international experience in this field.  It offers best practices and formulates rules and international standards as reference for scaling up the quality of education and various skills that is linked to the needs of the labor markets.
  • The World Bank is following up on the Doha Declaration supported by 17 Arab countries in connection with education, enhancing its quality as well as developing accreditation and quality measures in order to support education and exchange expertise and information in this respect.
  • The World Bank will make available its expertise in managing student educational exchanges to the best international universities in various fields of learning related to economic development, sciences, advanced research, economies and finance such as those achieved  in cooperation between Japan and the World Bank Institute for almost 25 years.

Mr. Chairman

Mr. Secretary General,

Honorable Ministers,

  • The World Bank looks forward to signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the League of Arab States, forging further our cooperation, in supporting countries from the Arab World in achieving the social and economic development.
  • The Bank is currently preparing an advanced website to help in identifying projects and areas of cooperation in the framework of Bank access to information policy, and its initiation on open data, open knowledge and open solution, in support of clarity, transparency and enabling monitoring of projects.
  • The Bank looks forward to outcomes of next month's Sharm El-Sheikh Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, and we are glad to see on the Summit’s agenda, meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The Bank will make available its financial and technical potentials as stressed by Mr. Robert Zoellick in order to achieve such results in a manner conducive to serving interests of people of the Arab World.