WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ON THE MIDDLE EAST CONCLUDES WITH HIGH OUTCOMES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Over 1,100 participants at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2006 set out to highlight the “Promise of a New Generation” against a background of profound challenges. Participants highlighted these challenges: the conflict in Iraq, which could deteriorate into civil war; the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian problem; heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme; the negative impact of higher oil revenues such as widening income gaps; insufficient investment in essential infrastructure; middle-class dissatisfaction over slumping securities markets; and most important of all, the need to create 90 million jobs over the next 20 years to stem the rise of extremism among youth.
“By engaging business, by forging partnerships between the public and private sectors, and by constructive and fruitful dialogue the World Economic Forum has contributed to a future where we will be able to realize the promise of a new generation, and to allow the Middle East to play a full and productive role in the global economy.
This meeting has produced some impressive immediate results with the promise of more to come based on the relationship of trust and mutal respect that have been forged in Sharm el Sheikh” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
In this context, the meeting was marked by more frank and open debate than ever before. Participants focused on issues that the business world can credibly address. Government, business and civil society leaders here with us, especially the youth, have taken bold initiatives to transform the region.
“This meeting has shown that leaders in the Arab world, from business, politics and civil society are lifting their eyes from the immediate horizon. The growing dialogue with Asia, with Europe and the United States and a blossoming interchange within the region itself shows that the Middle East is genuinely starting to take its place in the global community. The rich array of outcomes and achievements from this meeting have shown what a key role the World Economic Forum can play in helping with this process,” said Sherif El Diwany, Director, Middle East and North Africa, World Economic Forum.
What the World Economic Forum Achieved:
Dialogue and Society
• The Forum hosted significant business and political discussions among US, Arab and Israeli leaders, including the highest-level talks in 11 months between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
• By linking a group of students with regional ministers from among the Forum’s Young Global Leaders community, we expanded a valuable network to foster communication and exchange among young people.
• The Forum launched the Egypt Education Initiative to benefit 820,000 children in 2,000 schools.
• For the first time, the Women Leaders Programme brought together women ministers from across the region to construct a five-year action plan for public- and private-sector policies to address the region’s gender gap.
Business and Investment
• The Forum took initial steps to launching a private sector-funded branding campaign for the Middle East under the banner “Red tape out, Red carpet in”.
• The Forum recognized social entrepreneurs for their achievements in promoting sustainable business practices in Egypt.
• Egypt’s National Competitiveness Council published its third report.
• The Egyptian government agreed to consider a proposed open skies policy that would strengthen Egypt’s tourism competitiveness.
What the World Economic Forum Agreed to Facilitate:
• Under the Council of 100 Leaders, develop a Web-based information portal and local communities across faiths to support its work.
• Expand Partnership Against Corruption Initiative to launch a regional taskforce tackling corruption
• Work with high-potential, high-growth companies to develop a programme to help them integrate into the global economy.
• Establish a Middle East Venture Capital Association
During the meeting, a number of other proposals were made. The Forum is committed to take these forward over the coming year with our members and partners.
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national
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