GENEVA, 2nd June, 2016 (WAM) — GCC countries are doing their part to reduce poverty by creating 17 million job opportunities for expat workers, the Joint GCC Cabinet told the International Labour Conference in Geneva on Wednesday.

Speaking at the 105th session of the conference, Dr. Moufarrej bin Sa’ad Haqbani, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Labour and Social Development, said that it is estimated that expat workers send around US$ 80 billion (AED 293.84 billion) to their home countries from the GCC countries, which in turn, he explained, helped fight poverty in their own countries and reduce unemployment in those countries.

He said that the 17 million workers were making the economy of the GCC countries more active by contributing to big projects that develop these countries.

He said GCC countries are ready to participate in the UN 2030 programme to combat poverty and are doing their part to help the UN reach its 2030 target.

The GCC also plans to provide more opportunities for women in the market so there can be more proportionate participation, especially in small- and medium-size businesses.

The Joint Cabinet also expressed concern over Israel’s treatment of Arab workers in occupied Palestinian areas. They highlighted that there were limited opportunities for Arabs in the occupied areas with few rights, which has led to poverty spreading among Arab workers, and the occupied authorities are not doing anything to solve the problem.