Business leaders ask region to spend more on cultivating local talent

Published November 29th, 2006 - 02:19 GMT

GOVERNMENTS in the region need to do more to educate young people and protect local talent, according to three of the region's leading business executives.
Speaking during the CNN CEO debate at the Leaders in Dubai Business Forum, Aramex International CEO, Fadi Ghandour; GroupMed CEO Mohammad Hariri, and the Chief Executive of DMI, Khalid Janahi, said there was a major deficit in leadership in both government and the private sector in the region.
Governments need to do more to educate young people and encourage talent to the region and to stay in the region.
At the same time businesses needed to change their attitudes.
Rather than people staying in the same job from 25 to 65 they needed to move and allow young talent to come through.
Mr Ghandour said education was a big issue.
“We need to match what the young people are studying with the needs of the market. In my company we have to do a lot of retraining because the government education system is not providing what is needed.”
Mr Janahi said there was a need for reform. “But to reform we need to accept there is a cost.
“We have to put money into research and development, training staff providing rewards for staff.

“But the people at the top are not creating the change that is needed,” he said.

Mr Ghandour said the region had to provide a future for its youth. They had to know that they could go forward he said.

If government doesn’t do it, it is the private sector's responsibility to train people.

“It is not just a corporate responsibility, it is a selfish thing as well.

“Government has a primary role but we (business) have to sit at the table and influence the way our people are being educated.

He said billions of dollars were being poured into infrastructure but he wanted to see someone put $1 billion into providing venture capital of innovative new ideas.

The trio called on governments of the region to open trade and have free trade agreements across the region.
“We don’t need to change government, we need to change the mindset of both government and the business community,” said Mr Janahi.
“Governments and business need to open up. It is better that we trade with our neighbours who speak the same language before we go to other markets,” he said.
The CEO debate was one of the features of the second day of the Leaders in Dubai Business Forum which attracted more than 1800 delegates from 43 countries.

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