Saturday, May 07, 2005

Unemployment threatens spread of poverty in Arab countries - Khaleej Times
ABU DHABI — Arab countries have the highest rate of unemployment that threatens to spread poverty in this part of the world, an international labour expert has said.

“Arab countries suffer from a very high rate of unemployment that is twice as much as the international rate and among the highest in the world,” said Dr Taleb Rifai, the Regional Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
What is the cause of this unemployment? Later in the article he suggests that it is lack of job creation. Why the lack of job creation? Perhaps Arab countries can take lessons from a comparison of the US and the UK with Germany and France. I am suggesting that lack of job creation is associated with countries where government plays too large an ownership role, too large a regulatory role.

The Arab world could further reduce unemployment and poverty by opening up to migration of citizens between Arab countries. If anything, though, the trend has been the reverse. And the following exchange suggests why nationals in rich countries are interested curtailing immigration from poorer countries.
To a question about the recent restrictions in the country on recruiting foreign labour force, he said the limitations on the intake of foreign labourers are determined by the actual needs of the country’s development.

“If there were no justifications for a particular volume of business, there is no need for issuing new employment visas. It is clear that the supply of workers is determined by the demand of the country,” said Dr Rifai.

However, he added the ILO is much more concerned that labourers enjoy their full rights regardless of nationality, race and gender and all other discriminatory aspects.
I've suggested in earlier postings that to the extent that the ILO is successful in getting all workers "their full rights" this will work to the advantage of the workers who already have the most rights -- the nationals. Whether the UAE realizes it or not, the more it conforms to ILO standards the more it does for Emiratization.

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