In the Arab region, the World Bank estimated an economic con¬traction of 6.1% in total. While the recession varied among the Arab countries, they have all been affected by the repercussions of the pandemic in one way or another. In this context, the World Bank estimated that two-thirds of the Arab region’s countries lost more than ten years of growth due to the pandemic and the drop in oil prices, while a fifth of the region’s countries lost between five and nine years of growth. These figures indicate the extent of the economic losses suffered by the Arab region during one year of the spread of the pandemic and the loss of years of efforts to promote sustainable development.
While hopes for a gradual return to normal life emerged with the adoption of a wide range of vaccines, and with the gradual lifting of lockdown measures, it is necessary to firstly launch a compre¬hensive assessment of the economic damages and losses, and then adopt the necessary economic and financial recovery measures, and set economic, financial, monetary, social and health policies on the international, regional and national levels. It is also neces¬sary to stress the importance of cooperation between Arab coun¬tries in terms of adopting complementary policies because the expected recovery during the year 2021 is fragile and surrounded by considerable uncertainty.
On the other hand, the United Nations had called on all govern¬ments to develop national strategies to follow up on the sustain¬able development goals, but also recognized the role of the private sector, ranging from small enterprises to multinational companies, in achieving these goals. Specifically, the financial sector is ex¬pected to play a key role in financing the 2030 Sustainable De¬velopment Agenda and the transition to a more resilient, inclusive, and green economy. The last point, in particular, has become one of the priorities for decision-makers in the Arab region today. The TheCOVID-19 crisis has demonstrated how environmental, social and governance factors can have a major influence on the economy and society. Accordingly, financial institutions and markets are expected to support the ongoing global structural transformation towards sustainable development by efficiently redirecting public and private resources towards more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable activities.
In this context, the Union of Arab Banks aims to hold a forum en¬titled: “Post-crisis recovery strategies: restoring sustainable de¬velopment and debt sustainability” on June 24 and 25, 2021, to highlight the necessary policies and measures within the eco¬nomic and financial recovery plans, give a push to the sustainable development, and compensate for losses the Arab region recorded. The forum also seeks to discuss prospects for Arab co¬operation to accelerate recovery from the crisis and to put for¬ward the possibility of adopting complementary plans at the Arab level. In addition, the conference will highlight the 2021 G20summit priorities (People, Planet, and Prosperity), which will be held in Italy.
TOPICS OF DISCUSSION
•Prospects for Arab-European cooperation to mitigate the repercussions of the pandemic on the Arab economies.
•The required non-traditional economic and financial recovery measures.
•The transition to a green economy, green finance, and encouraging green deposits.
•The comprehensive digital transformation and its role in recovery.
•How to compensate sustainable development losses.
•The role of sustainable finance in achieving sustainable development and rebuilding the health economy in the Arab region.
•The role of the Arab banking sector in the recovery measures, especially in focusing on financing development and reducing the income gap.
•How the banking sector can play a more sustainable financing role.