Sixty percent of non-oil investments in Egypt are in the form of Arab cash flows, said Minister of Economic Development Osman Mohamed Osman. Ten percent of the Egyptian labor market works in the Gulf, and those workers send back remittances of US$6 million every year.
At the inaugural session of the scientific conference of the Arab Society for Economic Research held on Saturday, Osman said that trade between Arab countries grows at an average rate of 20 percent per year.
He said the financial and communications sectors are growing at high rates, adding that exports in the communications sector rose to $1 billion last year. He said there is a need to focus on research in these two sectors.
Income from oil has benefited all Arab states, be they oil-producing or not, and have increased the rate of human development. Five Arab states top the list of states to achieve sustainable human development most speedily.
An international report issued by the UN Development Program said that those states have achieved higher incomes for individuals, raised their average life expectancies, and narrowed the gender gap.
Direct foreign investments in Egypt prior to the global financial crisis totaled US$13 billion, or US$8 billion excluding revenues from oil. Sixty percent of that $8 billion is in the form of Arab investments, which proves that Arab economic integration is essential, especially considering that inter-Arab trade has accounted for one fifth of world trade in the past three years.
Speaking of the recent price hikes in the local market, Osman said they do not represent a crisis and are largely due to the interplay between supply and demand.
Mounir al-Hemesh, head of the Arab Association for Economic Research, said the conference is of paramount importance since it precedes the Arab Economic, Development and Social Summit to be held in Egypt in early 2011.