HE Minister of Economy and Finance Yusuf Hussein Kamal said Monday that he expected the food prices to increse worldwide by more than 60% in four years, if the world does not witness an "agricultural revolution." He said that emerging countries like India and China, which have a big agricultural sector, have economies that grow by 7% a year. As a result the Middle class of the two nations, which would be equal in number to the US population, will want a higher quality quantity of food products. HE the Minister of Economy added that this challenge, if not faced by an agricultural revolution, will lead to new world economic crises. He added that the Arab World will be the main region affected by that crisis, due to the weakness of the agricultural sector and high unemployment rate. Arab nations' debts could increase as a result of such crisis, HE the Minister added. He noted that debt had increased by 6% in 15 Arab nations, particularly as there are a number of Arab countries that rely on financial packages made by international institutions, which are now drained due to the Euro debt crisis. He stressed that the Arab world face growing economic challenges; foremost the unemployment rate which continues to increase, as it has reached 22% according to HE the Minister. He also said that some Arab countries could not achieve a growth rate of 5% while emerging countries reached a growth rate of 7.5%. He said that this challenge will require seriousness on part of the leaders. He stressed that economic reform requires popular participation, justice and the rule of law. He said that the popular participation meant that the people of a given country had to understand that a government will sometimes make difficult decisions that will be for the greater good on the long run.
When asked to compare between the economy of the Euro zone and the US, HE the Minister said that such an evaluation must bear in mind that the Euro Zone had 17 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, while the US had one on the other hand. He said that some of the problems that European countries faced was that some countries relied heavily on debt on one hand, while countries like Germany on the other tried to cover those debts beyond its ability. He noted that the European countries will face more crises in the coming six years. He added that three countries might go out of Euro by 2013. Another problem for European countries was the decrease in the number of workers and the increase in the number of those retiring. HE the Minister of Economy said that trade between emerging countries will pose bigger problems for the industrial countries which led the developed world for the past 70 years. As for the US, HE Kamal said he expected the US to make its way out of its financial difficulties for a number of factors, mainly for the discovery of new natural gas reserves which will cover 60% of the local demand. He said that the US advancement in the field of alternative energy. In addition to the fact that 30% of the US economy relied on innovation and the human factor, HE the Minister added.