Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati
Beirut – George Shahin
Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati said at the opening of the Arab Economic Forum on Thursday that its convention in Lebanon reflected Arabs' confidence in Lebanon. Mikati saidhis government, in light of regional risks, was working on activating investment to secure employment opportunities and increase growth. The prime minister said the Lebanese economy could then achieve growth rates of about 5 percent in 2011, which he said would be the highest among non-oil producing Arab countries.
"Our Arab world has witnessed for more than one year substantial developments that put our communities on the crossroads. We should be courageous in order to avoid chaos that might cause undesirable consequences for several years,” he said, adding that the solution was through "awareness and securing jobs".
Mikati said the proposed reforms should achieve many goals, most notably reducing public debt, reinforcing policies and setting legislations that would support the private sector to re-ignite the economy, in addition to developing infrastructure to securing supplies of electricity, transportation, information and communication. He continued saying that the proposals also reinforced the human development programme in health and education.
The Lebanese leader pointed out that boosting the Lebanese economy was based on the triangle of securing an encouraging environment, stimulating exports, and activating economic sectors through diverse mechanisms.
Mikati mentioned that the government was seeking to implement institutional reform to improve public sector institutions, particularly through engaging the private sector in investment. They are also seeking to introduce supporting factors such as strengthening social security and fighting corruption.