Local workforce must lead development

Amani Mohammed wrote in the UAE newspaper Al Ittihad that a recent study by a Japanese researcher on the Emirati demographic composition revealed nothing new. It simply highlighted the already known fact that the demographic imbalance is due to the increasing number of unskilled workers, who constitute more than a half of the whole population. This problem has emerged since the establishment of the Union, which led many to raise this issue and call for drafting fair laws to control the situation. Another report by The New York Times showed resentment among Emiratis about the employment of foreigners and the better occupational privileges they receive. Accordingly, most UAE citizens prefer the public sector, which offers better opportunities.

The job market reflects this reality. The study also showed that the lack of incentives in some companies fails to retain employees. Nor does it help their human resources to give their best. "To be able to efficiently produce, employees need first to develop loyalty to the organisation." Without motivating Emiratis and treating them fairly, the private sector will remain a centrifugal working environment. Moreover, without the active participation of citizens, there will be no real development that will focus on the country.

In a lead article, the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi decried the retreat of Egypt's role in Africa so that the Nile river upstream countries were encouraged to draft an agreement entitling them to implement water projects without reference to downstream countries. The Egyptian press also criticised the lax Egyptian attitude concerning this serious issue that threatens the Nile flow and thereby the Egyptian share of its waters as stipulated in international treaties.

Another intervening factor causing the present crisis is, reportedly Israeli interference in the "revolting Nile countries". Some also argued that the upstream states behaved in this way in retaliation for Egypt's strict policy against infiltrators coming from those countries. The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, rejected similar accusations earlier this week, claiming that Egypt had the highest diplomatic representation in Africa. "He might be right, but he ignored that diplomatic efficiency outweighs the size of representation," the newspaper noted. For diplomacy to be successful, it needs first a well-informed strategy and well-qualified experts to implement it. These two perquisites are needed this time. And for these reasons, Israel is taking over the scene, while upstream countries have grown aware of the fact that water is currently as strategic as oil.

Commenting on the possibility of calling on international forces to maintain security in the West Bank in the event of an agreement on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Salah al Qallab wrote in an opinion piece for the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jareeda that this suggestion was old one. The same recommendation was brought into focus during Oslo talks in the 1990s and also repeated in the wake of the Israeli retreat from the Gaza Strip.

If this recommendation is offered, Palestinians should not hesitate in accepting it. Arabs should also support such an initiative because many newly independent states have resorted to it. This has happened in Europe, Africa and Asia. "It is a great opportunity that must be grabbed quickly and without hesitation. It is known that Israel has been against such an idea. This is because having international forces in the West Bank and near to Gaza's borders will end the Israeli claim over the Palestinian Occupied Territories." Palestinian negotiators, either now or in the future, should insist on the deployment of these forces who would provide protection for the future independent Palestinian state. Palestinians should willingly accept multinational troops in case it is difficult to bring in UN forces, given the present international political situation.

Before he flew to the Chadian capital N'Djamena to embark on an overland trip to Darfur, Khalid Ibrahim, the leader of the largest rebel group in the Sudanese province, should have kept in mind the Chadian president's recent visit to Khartoum," commented Ahmed Amorabi in the opinion section of the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. There, the Chadian president, Idriss Deby, signed a security agreement with his Sudanese counterpart, Omar Bashir, whereby the two countries would rein in armed opposition groups against each other's interests.

"It was a dramatic scene at the N'Djamena airport when the Chadian authorities barred Mr Ibrahim and his group from exiting the commercial aircraft that had carried them from the Libyan capital Tripoli. The authorities went even further: they ripped apart their passports." The irony is that the Chadian government has previously signed security deals with Sudan only to breach them in support for the armed rebels in Darfur. And since Chad's backing for the Darfur cause was forcibly dictated by France and other western powers, the question now is: why didn't the West react to Chad's move?

The short answer is: the West is letting down the Darfur rebels, and only the future will bring the answers why. * Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae