Arab Business Council Annual Meeting Opens This Weekend In Abu Dhabi

Published November 29th, 2006 - 02:06 GMT

More than 70 business leaders from around the Arab world will converge on Abu Dhabi this weekend for the third Annual Meeting of the Arab Business Council.

The Council, a high-level World Economic Forum initiative formed in 2003 to build cooperation between business leaders and government and among leading corporate institutions to boost competitiveness in the Arab world, is being hosted in the UAE capital by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The two-day Annual Meeting, scheduled for December 2 and 3, will be opened by UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is expected to draw senior government ministers from across the region, including HH UAE Minister for Economy and Planning Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi and senior government delegations from across the region.

Shafik Gabr, Chairman of the Arab Business Council (ABC), said the current geopolitical situation in the region makes private-public cooperation more critical than ever before.

“Today more than ever, the Arab Business Council believes that economic integration and job creation remain important means of addressing issues of stability and volatility in the region and contributing to build the foundations of a sustainable and robust economy,” he said. “The economy needs the dynamic and rigorous intervention of the Arab business community at all levels, from policymaking to investment and from planning to implementation. Business has an important role in the path forward.”

This year’s Annual meeting, he added, will focus on four main topics: trade, competitiveness, advancing change in the region and the effect of the current political situation on business and regional growth.

Meeting participants will explore the compatibility of various international trade agreements and their effects on regional trade. An ABC-financed trade study on Middle East free trade agreements will also be launched at the meeting.

The Abu Dhabi meeting will also showcase the competitiveness of the Arab world, and establish the framework for the next Arab World Competitiveness Report, due April 2007.

Mr. Gabr thanked Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed for hosting the Annual Meeting, and for Abu Dhabi’s extensive support of the event. The 2006 ABC Annual Meeting is being supported by Mubadala Development Company, Al Qudra Holding, Gulf Capital and Abraaj Capital.


About the Arab Business Council

The Arab Business Council (ABC) was formed at the World Economic Forum’s Extraordinary Annual Meeting in Jordan in June 2003, in response to the growing development gap between MENA countries and the developed world as well as many developing countries. It is currently composed of 75 Arab business leaders who are committed to the mission of ‘Enhancing Competitiveness of the Arab World’ and to equip their societies to compete effectively in the global economy, and to contribute to the development of an equitable regional and global society.

Today, in its fourth year of existence, the Council has become firmly established as an effective representative of the Arab business community, regionally and globally. It works closely with regional governments and those from G8 countries, India and China, as well as international organizations and civil society, on priority policy reform issues in areas such as investment, trade, education and media, and on promoting cultural exchange.

About the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum s 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 interests.


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