Unemployment hits 16% in Arab states inundated by wave of revolts

ALGIERS(AFP) - Unemployment in Arab countries rose to 16 per cent last year following the revolts which erupted the previous year, Arab Labour Organisation (ALO) chief Ahmed Mohamed Luqman announced on Sunday.

"The unemployment level in the Arab world was 14 per cent in 2010, which translates to 17 million people out of work," Mr Luqman said in Algiers.

"This increased by two points by the end of 2012 to 16 per cent, or 20 million people unemployed," the ALO director-general added.

Mr Luqman said the upheavals that swept the Arab world in 2011 and last year had caused the rise, particularly because of a plunge in foreign investments and the number of tourists visiting the region.

"The return of foreign investment and political stability will be indispensable in reversing the rise in unemployment in Arab Spring countries," he said.

A meeting of the ALO, which is affiliated to the 22-member Arab League, opens on Monday in the Algerian capital where ministers from the region, experts and trade union representatives are to discuss ways of tackling unemployment.

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