Arab leaders came up with great ideas and encouraging promises in the Arab Economic Summit held last week in Riyadh. They want to offer better economic and living conditions in all Arab countries which they aim at turning into one harmonious and successful economic bloc whose people would live in prosperity and find jobs.
But let us try to apply those ideas on the reality of the Arab world. Can we establish an economic unity in which billions of investments, goods, and jobs flow between the two biggest Arab countries—Egypt and Saudi—which together make up half the economy of the Arab world?
The answer is, “Of course not,” not because trade between the two countries is in any way modest, for it exceeds seven billion dollars and is the biggest between any two Arab countries. The reason is the huge difference in the economic structure of the two sister countries despite geographical proximity and religious and genealogical ties. Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said in his last visit to Riyadh to attend the summit that the two countries are “one tribe.”
This time people want action and not words. They want jobs and results in numbers. They will start holding their rulers accountable even before the next summit is held in Tunisia in two years’ timeJamal Khashoggi