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Kerry On Mideast Development

Egyptian protesters chant anti-government slogans during a rally in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 1, 2013.

Countries like Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia need to make the right choices -- a combination of better governance, improved security, and more jobs.

The Arab Awakening began with the fundamental desires of a massive population of young people for freedom, economic opportunity, and democratic reform. This new generation is hoping for a better future, including greater respect and dignity.

Kerry On Mideast Development
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The story for these Arab countries in transition is still unfolding. So, it is critical that the right choices be made now, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the World Economic Forum.

It requires that governments begin to govern justly. They need to be open, transparent, and accountable to the people they serve. And they need to be seen implementing a vision that addresses the needs of their people – to be able to find work, to get an education, to have an opportunity to be treated with respect.

Countries like Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, said Mr. Kerry, need to make the right choices, and that includes a combination of better governance, improved security, and more jobs. “They need to aggressively re-emerge into the global economic community,” said Mr. Kerry.

There is a huge role for business to play in the development process. The private sector can successfully promote change and force critical choices as well as impact the actions of government. Good governance, peace, and economic development, said Secretary Kerry, necessarily go hand-in-hand.

That’s why the United States believes it is time to put in place a new model for development. The old model is one that saw government make grants or give money government-to-government or invest directly in some infrastructure.

The private sector pretty much did what the private sector thought was in its best interest in terms of the bottom line. Under the new model, governments would partner with the private sector, as the private sector has greater ability to get things done faster.

The true significance of the Arab Awakening, said Secretary Kerry, isn’t about what was torn down, but it’s about what the people of this region can now choose to build up with the help of the international community.