AMMAN, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said Sunday that Arabs need to heal their wounds with their hands.
Speaking at the opening of the Economic and Social Council's preparatory ministerial meeting at the Arab Summit level, he said more than half of the world's refugees are Arabs.
He said that there are pressing challenges facing the Arab economies and societies, stressing that high unemployment among the Arab youth stands at around 29 percent.
He added declining economic growth rates and continued conflicts and violence in the region are all challenges that make any developments efforts in the Arab world more difficult.
"Arabs represent about five percent of the world's population but they account for 50 percent of the total number of the world's refugees," Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said at the opening of the meeting.
"Only the Arabs will be able to heal their own wounds," said Aboul-Gheit.
The refugees' crisis threatens the future of all Arabs with some 2.8 million Syrian children cannot go to school.
Extremism is the main enemy to development in the Arab world. It causes spits in the societies and prevents Arabs from making advances and catching up with the rest of the world, said the Arab League official.
Only modern education and openness can help encounter such ideology, said Aboul-Gheit.
"According to UN estimates, the region needs to create 60 million jobs during the next decade to absorb new graduates...This is a major challenge and requires serious steps toward reform and development," said the official.
Addressing the meeting, Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Yaroub Qudah said that economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa was greatly affected by the crises in the region.
Foreign direct investments flow to Arab states between 2010-2015 dropped by 43 percent to 40 billion U.S. dollars compared, Qudah added.