World Economic Forum says meeting in Jordan ”Opportunity to seize the moment”
The World Economic Forum said today that it hopes its meeting in Jordan on 20-22 May will act as a platform to help leaders focus efforts to capitalize upon the current climate of change and opportunity in the region. Held under the theme “Seizing the Moment”, leaders from business, politics and civil society will be challenged to respond to popular demands for improvement in their daily lives through wider political participation, improved economic opportunities, and greater peace and stability throughout the region.
Experts and political leaders will provide a window on Iraq and the Palestinian territories some 100 days after their elections. Citizens in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait are making their voices heard and demanding a better future. Elections in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the Palestinian territories have already marked the region's political landscape. The re-emergence of Libya, advancing economic reforms and sustained oil prices promise to generate interesting business opportunities. Iran, Syria and Lebanon, and their relations with the United States, will be high on the agenda.
Participants at the World Economic Forum's third meeting in Jordan will examine the latest developments in the peace process and build international support for the next steps. The programme will also engage regional players with the wider world on the issues of international terrorism and nuclear proliferation. The programme of the meeting will touch upon the following sub-themes:
Driving Economic Growth – the vital role of the private sectors to play in the future of the region through creating jobs, spurring economic development and reducing dependence on natural resources. Issues such as regulatory reform, project financing, trade liberalization and the integration of capital markets with a special focus on banking, infrastructure, tourism and energy, and growing links with Asia will be tackled.
Fostering Peace and Security – the interlinked nature of regional and global politics which influences the prospects for peace and stability in the region. The meeting will take a multistakeholder approach to these issues, convening political leaders from the region and beyond along with representatives of the private sector and civil society.
The Middle East and the World – the position of the Middle East in its relations with the rest of the world in 2005 and how the Middle East can communicate a positive “brand” to the world.
The Reform Agenda – evidence to support a broad spectrum of reforms in pursuit of greater transparency, openness and development, and the need to create 80 million jobs by 2020 to account for young and growing populations.
Society and Change – the importance of culture, the role of young leaders and entrepreneurs, the role of the media, prospects for modernizing education and the place of women in society.
"Creative thinkers throughout our societies have the power to transform lives around the globe. It is up to us to open minds and lives to the promise that our century offers. Together – in the classroom, in the workplace and in the halls of government – we can make the promise real," said King Abdullah II Ibn Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
“Reform in the Middle East is not an option, it is a necessity. The World Economic Forum in Jordan 2005 will be an opportunity for all those who want to bring about real and sustained changes in business, government and civil society. Without such reform, the Arab world faces the prospect of not only missing out on the advantages of playing a full role in a vibrant world economy but also failing to develop the true potential of its young and growing population,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.