Qatar pledges $50 million for youth jobs at Lebanon summit
Qatar has pledged $50 million to create jobs for young people in the Middle East at an Arab economic summit in Lebanon, local newspaper al-Sharq reported.
Finance Minister Ali al-Emadi made the announcement on Sunday during the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit (AESD).
Emadi said Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani would contribute a quarter of the $200 million Kuwaiti initiative aimed at "achieving a more secure and prosperous future for the Arab youth".
Qatar's ruler attended the summit, which has been marred by divisions over readmitting Syria to the Arab League.
Sheikh Tamim arrived shortly before the summit and left shortly after it began.
The Qatari Emir and the President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz were the only heads of state from the 22-member Arab League who attended the summit.
"We regret the absences of some brotherly kings and presidents who have their justified excuses," Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said in his opening speech, without elaborating.
On the emir's visit, Dr. Ali Bakeer, a political analyst, told The New Arab: "I think it was a good opportunity to show support for the Lebanese state as most Arab Gulf countries were absent."
"It is certainly a move that will increase Qatar’s influence and soft power again in Lebanon after it went down during the regional divergence with the Saudi and Iranian positions from the Arab revolutions".
Lebanon had hoped the summit would boost its sinking economic credentials.
The AESD was formed in 2009 as an exclusively economic and development conference that tends to involve the private sector, including banks, chambers of commerce, industry and agriculture.
The agenda does not include the reconstruction of Syria, much of it ruined in nearly eight years of civil war.