Speaker: Aiman Saif, General Director of the
Authority for Economic Development of the Arab, Druze and Circassian Sectors
in the Prime Minister's Office
In recent years, the government of Israel has been making unprecedented investments to enhance economic development for the Arab minority (20.6% of Israel's citizens) and harness its potential to become Israel's next engine for growth. Last week the largest ever government plan to advance economic development in the Arab sector was approved, allocating approximately NIS 15 billion for the development of Arab society and closing socio-economic gaps between Jews and Arab in Israel.
Addressing low labor participation rates, closing socio-economic gaps and raising the standard of living in Arab communities are viewed today as key to strengthening the economy as a whole. Israeli government figures show that under-participation of Arab citizens in the economy results in estimated losses of NIS 31 Billion to the GDP each year. In response, a number of government bodies have been created in recent years and a major allocations plan launched, representing a total government investment of approximately NIS 4 Billion over the next 5 years for economic development programs for Israel's Arab citizens.
Mr. Saif will provide the most current updates on the government's investments and approach to these issues, the latest assessments of recent progress and challenges ahead, and discuss existing programs as well as future government plans in this area. He will also reflect on the importance of the business community in advancing these issues and addressing areas that are beyond the government's scope.
About the speaker:
Aiman Saif is the General Director of the Authority for the Economic Development of the Minorities Sector in the Ministry for Social Equality in Israel, and has served as senior economic consultant at the Prime Minister's Office since 1996. Prior to that, he served as economic consultant at the Ministry of Economy and Planning. Mr. Saif was responsible for several fields including global and regional economy, economy of the Israeli Arab sector, municipal issues, infrastructure and investments. Some of the major initiatives that were coordinated by Mr. Saif were private equity funds; plans for the employment of Arab women; and joint ventures to advance the employment of Arab academics. Mr. Saif issued several publications including The Economic Development of the Non Jewish Sector in Israel (1995) and Middle East Economy - Israeli Master Plan 2020. Mr. Saif earned an MA in International Economic Development at Clark University, and an MBA and BA in Economics at the Otto Friedrich Universitaet Bamberg in West Germany.