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IMF warns about Arab world joblessness
Thu, 20 Jan 2011 23:39:52 GMT
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Jobless people in the United Arab Emirates (file photo).
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that high unemployment rate is an “increasingly urgent” challenge for the Arab world.
"We do see economic pressure building in the region," said David Hawley, an IMF spokesman.
"Addressing the question of high unemployment is a longstanding but increasingly urgent economic challenge," AFP quoted Hawley as saying on Thursday.
"While the region's oil importing countries have only seen a relatively mild slowdown in growth last year, to the equivalent of about four and a half percent, this growth rate is below the level required to create sufficient jobs to absorb new entrants to the labor market and thus bring about a decline in chronically high unemployment in the region," he stated.

He pointed to the high unemployment and economic pressure in Tunisia that led to the revolution and ouster of President Zine El Abidine Bel Ali last week, who ruled with an iron-fist for 23 years.

He said it is clear that the current unrest has left an impact on the economic situation in Tunisia, but it was “too early” to assess the strength of the impact.

He cited the country's interior minister as saying the violence of the recent weeks may have resulted in a slowdown equivalent of 4.5 percent of GDP.

The IMF official singled out Tunisia's major problem, saying that 14 percent of the general population is unemployed but the figure is double for those under 25 years of age.

FTP/MGH
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