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Kuwait, region should sustain growth through economic diversification - experts

KUWAIT, Oct 31 (KUNA) -- Kuwait and regional countries should work on sustaining growth through economic diversification among other reforms, said two economists Tuesday.
Growth outlook was improving across the Middle East region, said Aasim Hussain, Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Middle East and Central Asia Department.
His remarks came during a symposium held in Kuwait on economic policy challenges facing Kuwait and Arab countries.
He added that notwithstanding; oil exporting countries saw a 2.6 percent in non-oil growth this year, with an expected overall growth to drop below two percent due to the OPEC production cut.
In contrast, he added that growth in oil importers was seen as recovering to over 4.2 percent this year, reflecting the global recovery, stronger exports and foreign investments, as well as more tourism receipts.
However, he highlighted the need to improve quality of education, especially in the area of training needed to cater to requirements of the private sector.
On his part, Stephane Roudet, IMF Mission Chief for Kuwait said that Kuwait, like other countries in the region, needed to boost growth and job creation for national.
He added that doing so in a more constrained budgetary environment required "rethinking" the economic growth model, as well as moving away from the public sector and oil-led growth and towards a model based on private sector development and diversification.
He explained that labor market and civil service reforms should encourage Kuwaiti nationals seek private sector jobs. In this context, he pointed to the large difference between compensation in the public and private sectors, noting that better aligning public sector wages and benefits in both sectors would provide more incentive for nationals to seek jobs in the private sector.
The symposium was chaired and moderated by Economic Advisor at Amiri Diwan Dr. Youssef Al-Ibrahim.
It was held jointly by the IMF Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (CEF), and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD). (end) mge.hb