Upheaval across the Arab world is causing capital flight of up to $500 million (349 million euros) a week, Jordanian Finance Minister Mohammed Abu Hammour said on Thursday at an Arab banking conference in Rome.
"There is capital flight. Five hundred million dollars a week are leaving the Arab world. Tourism is falling, foreign direct investment is falling," Hammour said, pointing to volatility in oil prices as another negative.
"Economic development is lagging. We need to guarantee job opportunities. This is a huge challenge... We need five million new jobs every year but we have only been able to generate three million jobs a year," he said.
Hammour called for greater economic integration between Arab countries, greater assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises and development of the private sector as ways to improve the economic outlook for the region.
The minister was taking part in the International Arab Banking Summit organised by the Union of Arab Banks with senior bankers and central bank governors to discuss the implications of political upheaval in the region.