The World Bank representative in Cairo, Jean-Pierre Chauffour, has revealed that trade between Arab states has risen by just 1 per cent over the past 20 years. This is in stark contrast to trade among European nations, which has risen by 60 per cent over the same period.
"The Arab region does not make good use of globalisation," said Chauffour. "While the MENA region depends primarily on the mining and natural resources sectors and not on real estate to generate foreign trade, developed countries don't depend on the same sectors for the growth of their trade."
Twenty years ago, 80 per cent of the world's foreign trade was between members of the Economic Cooperation Organisation. Those states now have 60 per cent of the world's foreign trade, losing 20 per cent to developing countries, he pointed out.
During his presentation at a World Bank conference held in coordination with the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), Chauffour said that East Asian countries, including China, have 10 per cent of the world's foreign trade; East European countries have another 5 per cent, as have Latin American states. According to the World Bank official, the market's quotas have changed in the past 20 years and the Arab region has not been able to utilise international trade to its maximum benefit.