Al-Rouad Panel to Debate Inflation, Education & Future Growth

Published September 17th, 2008 - 07:32 GMT

Al-Rouad Panel to Debate Inflation, Education & Future Growth

Five of the Arab world’s influential business leaders confirmed today their participation in Al-Rouad (the Pioneers) panel debate, which is part of this year's Leaders in Dubai Business Forum to be held in November. The leaders are scheduled to discuss, among other issues, the future growth of the Middle East economy with a focus on how to deal with inflation and a surge in prices of primary commodities, including oil.

The Al-Rouad members are HE Mohammed Hassan Omran, the Chairman of Etisalat; Fadi Ghandour, the founder and the CEO of Aramex International; Sameer Al-Ansari, the Executive Chairman and CEO of Dubai International Capital LLC, Shaikha Khaled Al-Bahar, the Deputy CEO of the National Bank of Kuwait, and Mohamed Al-Jasser, the vice governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. In addition, Nadine Hany, an anchor for Al-Arabiya News Channel, will be moderating the discussion.

The topic of double-digit inflation will be on high priority at the Al-Rouad debate. Speakers are expected to highlight the appropriate monetary and exchange rate policies that will be implemented to maintain regional prosperity. They will also address the possibility of opening new economic sectors in the Arab world for foreign investment beyond oil-related activities to strengthen the regional economy and enhance private sector participation. In addition, the strong speaker lineup will share key insights into the overhauling of the regional educational system to meet the needs of the changing and increasingly globalised economy, with the purpose of ensuring regional employment for the next generation.

A recent poll conducted by Leaders Presents revealed that the soaring inflation rates in the Gulf region are starting to cause concern among regional leaders. Asked about how they would rate their company’s profit’s negative exposure to inflation, 55% said that they rate their companies’ exposure to inflation as medium, while 21% rated this exposure as high. Despite the overall concern, the survey, which reflects the opinions of nearly 300 regional business leaders and key decision makers from across the region, also revealed that 76% percent of those surveyed intend to increase their workforce in the GCC within the next 12 months.

“The GCC countries should work together for a greater integration of their economies,” said Shaikha Khaled Al Bahar, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at National Bank of Kuwait. “As we’ve seen, the recession of the US dollar has reflected negatively on GCC currencies linked to it; therefore I believe that GCC countries should depeg their currencies from the dollar to curb inflation, as we did in Kuwait. The introduction of a unified GCC currency could also be a positive resolution towards the betterment of the economic situation. We should work together to create a better future for new generations - this is our responsibility.”

“I believe that regional leaders now have a large and growing influence on public attitudes, investment decisions and governmental policies,” said Lucy Mountain, Conference Director. “These renowned leaders will help shape thinking across the Middle East business environment. Their participation in the Al-Rouad panel debate is a unique opportunity to discuss and learn from their ideas for solving major regional challenges in an ever-changing and increasingly globalised economy.”

Nine of the world's powerful political and economic business leaders have confirmed their participation at Leaders in Dubai Business Forum, to be held at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Center from November 16-18. Confirmed speakers include James Wolfensohn, Mohamed ElBaradei, Tom Peters, Sir Winfried Bischoff, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Dave Ulrich, Geoffrey West, Thomas Frey and David Taylor.

The Leaders in Dubai Business Forum 2008 is supported by Citibank, Nokia, Amlak Finance, Etisalat, Al-Mal Capital, Wasl, the InterContinental Hotel and Cadillac. Media Partners include Al-Arabiya News Channel and CNN.

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