In Tough Times, Youth are Key to Change
Celebrating Youth by Feeding Them Knowledge (International Youth Day, August 12)
As Dr. Sulayman Al Qudsi, Chief Economist of the Arab Bank took the stage at the Abdel Hameed Shoman Foundation on Saturday, August 1, young men and women stirred in their seats awaiting the presentation to come. These young men and women came from the Al-Aman Fund, orphans beginning their academic pursuits. They were in attendance at this Arab Bank sponsored event to learn about the current economic crisis and its impacts on Jordan.
Dr. Qudsi peered out onto the audience and said, “I am not going to stand here and talk at you, I would like this to be an interactive experience.” Before diving into the economic crisis Dr. Qudsi spent some time acquainting the crowd with economic terms such as the real and financial economies and the GDP, just to name a few.
Dr. Qudsi tested the youth about their knowledge. The first question was about the GDP, they answered correctly, but not before they could take a couple of guesses. “Ten million” Azizeh raised her voice from the back of the room, another shouted “Two hundred million”. Dr. Qudsi finally coaxed the answer and compared Jordan’s GDP of around $16 billion to the US’s of $14 trillion.
The first part of the speech was drawing comparisons between the US and Jordan to familiarize the audience and show them the scale of the world economy. Then Dr. Qudsi focused on the epicenter of the crisis. He discussed thoroughly with the crowd everything from the real estate collapse of 2007, the Madoff scandal in 2008, regulation policies, Alan Greenspan to off-balance sheets. One main focus was human behavior during this crisis, and how assumptions and rationality played huge factors in the crisis.
Dr. Qudsi’s lecture finally hit home as he tied the world economy to Jordan’s. He explained about the associated relationship between the price of oil and the FDI and how Jordan’s FDI decreased because of oil prices. He also explained the Central Bank of Jordan’s efforts to maintain economic stability through reformed tax laws. Then he referred to the growth rate of Jordan which went from 6% down to around 2%. “The Jordanian economy is not getting smaller, but it’s slowing down and when you compare it to what is going on around us, it is not bad, not bad at all.”
Ismaeel Ahmad Mousa, 20, a member of the audience said at the end of the presentation, “It was great to find out about the derivatives market and other financial markets that have such a great effect on the world economy.” Noor Malah, 19, another audience member said, “It was a very informative lecture, overall I think I learned a lot today.”