Jordan will host next year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa, the organization said in a statement on Monday. The event, which will be held on May 24-26, 2013, will host over 1,000 participants from government, business, civil society and academia sectors from across the Middle East.Planning for the event has officially kicked off, a statement from the Forum reported, adding that Jordan’s King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD) signed off the official paperwork to mark the start of preparations. “We are proud to host the World Economic Forum for the seventh time in Jordan, and look forward to playing a very active role in helping achieve its goals of enhancing regional cooperation and partnerships,” KAFD Chairman Nasser Al Lozi said.
Earlier this month, Jordan’s ranking in the annual global competitiveness index jumped by seven notches this year to the 64th spot out of 144 countries. In the 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) that was released by the WEF, the Kingdom's latest performance followed two years of decline. Last year, Jordan's ranking was 71 out of 142 countries.The GCI takes into account 12 sectors, which include: infrastructure, higher education, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size and business innovation.The decision to host next year’s WEF in Jordan has honed in on the country’s economic progress. “Building on Jordan’s recognized role in the region and internationally, the aim of 2013 meeting is to drive the dialogue needed to overcome long-standing fault lines and foster the spirit of multistakeholder partnerships,” the WEF director and head the of Middle East and North Africa region, Miroslav Dusek, said.The 2013 forum is set to focus on a “new” Middle East and North Africa context, in which leaders and policymakers across the region are responding to societal and geopolitical challenges, such as mass uprisings which have swept the Middle East since 2011.“This situation represents a key opportunity for industry, government and civil society to jointly make historic gains in crucial areas, including youth unemployment, transparency, income disparity reduction, private sector development and infrastructure,” the WEF said in a statement.“At the same time, the deep economic slowdown in Europe and continuous geopolitical uncertainty in the Levant underscore the need for enhanced regional cooperation as well as the importance of relations with emerging markets,” the statement added.The Forum describes itself as an independent international organization, engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.