At the conclusion of the World Economic Forum covering the Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) it was stated that action is necessary for the prosperity of the region to be secured.
More than 1,000 business and government leaders as well as those from the civil sector and media representing 62 nations were involved in the meeting which was themed “Purpose, Resilience and Prosperity.”
There is massive potential in the Mena region, as all those present agreed. At the conclusion those co-chairing the meeting had a chance to express their views and visions for the future.
David M. Rubenstien of the Carlyle Group borrowed a page from history. The managing director and co-founder of the US-based firm stated that this region is set to regain the leadership that it held millennia ago when it was a leader in cutting edge civilization. Rubenstein stated that cooperation will push the Mena region into its role as a market leader.
Managing director and chairman of Jubilant Bhartia Group in India, Shyam Sunder Bhartia, noted that the population of 360 million provide excellent opportunities for integration. Mena is uniquely poised to become a bridge between the booming markets in Asia and the vast European and African economies. Bhartia stated that the GCC members are providing a good example and an excellent model for cooperation.
Chair of the Arab Business Council Lubna S Olayan noted that a good deal of progress has been made in the Arab region. Olayan is also the deputy chairperson and CEO of Olayan Financing Company in Saudi Arabia said that more work needs to be done on the gap in gendesr and the reduction of unemployment within the young population.
These steps are vital to creating a healthy middle class within the society, a core element of any flourishing and lasting community. Social instability is the result of allowing the lower and middle class residents to feel stifled. These citizens require flexibility and the ability to excel.
Quality within the education system is of utmost importance and is necessary to keep up with modern times and skills. Specifically, ventures between both the public and the private sector which aim to connect “centers of excellence” within the region were discussed. The possibility of interconnected high school networks throughout the Mediterranean area was also presented.
The director-general for CDG (Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion) of Morocco, Anass Alami, pointed out that government plays a vital role in encouraging and allowing the private sector to become involved through investments and regulatory reforms. Morocco is currently looking to set a target for energy mixes that would require 40 per cent of the sources to come from renewable energy like wind and solar. This will draw private funds into the region’s green energy sector. Alami noted that governments need to be leading the challenges within food and water security in the region.
Those on the panel agreed that Mena has two distinct and unique blessings in the people and the resources found there. It was also noted that if these two endowments are not handled in a wise manner over the coming years the situation may change and the blessings will become burdens.
The World Economic Forum for the Mena region will be held May 20 to 22, 2011 in Jordan at the Dead Sea.Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News