Finance Minister Sheikh Yousef Hussain Kamal has called upon the IMF and the World Bank to take a “business unusual” approach towards the Arab nations and respond to their needs with greater flexibility and speed.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank held in Tokyo in October, the Finance Minister said the IMF should review its quota system, widen the availability of its global knowledge base and do more to develop the private sector across the Arab world.
The Minister, who spoke on behalf of his Arab colleagues, urged the two institutions to “take a ‘business unusual’ approach and be ready to go the extra mile at short notice and in demonstrating more flexibility with regards to the conditions placed on the Arab countries by the IMF.”
Specifically, the Minister said the IMF should review its system of quotas, which he said “lacks fairness.” He also addressed the issue of global knowledge – the enormous amount of data, studies and other resources contained in the IMF and World Bank. He said these must be made available in real time, in Arabic, and should be produced in collaboration with local country policymakers and think tanks.
Finally, Sheikh Yousef Hussain Kanmal urged the two institutions to improve their efforts to develop the private sector across the Arab world.
“We see the private sector as the main driver for future growth and the key to realising the region’s potential for robust and sustained job creation, technological innovation and regional economic integration that are urgently needed,” he said.
On broader issues, the Qatari finance minister said the IMF should increase its financial support for the Palestinian Authority, “to help it in building a viable economy,” and increase the representation of Arab nationals both at the Fund and at the World Bank.