Education, youth employment, women's empowerment and public-private partnerships are key to ensuring sustainable economic growth and stability in the Arab world, according to Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, who led a high-level UAE delegation to the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa.
The forum, being held in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 21-23 May, brought together 800 key MENA region leaders from government, business and civil society to support a comprehensive blueprint for prosperity and peace, based on a framework for public-private cooperation.
Dr Al Jaber said, "The UAE leadership has long recognised the critical importance of transitioning from a resource based economy to an economy that is based on knowledge and innovation. A highly educated, skilled and motivated workforce has the capability to jump-start economic growth and foster job creation and entrepreneurship.
"The UAE, in line with our leadership's vision, is committed to contributing to the region's economic growth and stability. Achieving this goal requires public and private partnerships, with a particular emphasis on the advancement of youth, education and women's empowerment."
During the forum, Dr Al Jaber and the UAE delegation met with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and discussed the long standing political and trade ties between the two countries.
"The UAE commends His Majesty King Abdullah II for hosting a conference aimed at catalysing partnerships to enhance regional security and growth. These are objectives that are closely shared between the UAE, Jordan and the broader region".
Al Jaber also met with Jordan's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Ibrahim Saif. Together they discussed the onshore 117MW Taflia Wind Farm project, which Masdar has a 31 per cent shareholding. The project, due to be completed later this year, will be the first utility-scale renewable energy project in Jordan, and will account for almost 10 percent of the country's 2020 renewable energy target and increase its total power generation capacity by three percent.
Dr Al Jaber also met with Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, to discuss the upcoming Summit on the Global Agenda, which will take place in Abu Dhabi in October. The Summit will bring together public and private sector leaders of the World Economic Forum's Network of Global Agenda Councils, comprising more than 80 groups of experts from academia, business, civil society, international organisations and government.
The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa was attended by Their Royal Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. The conference built on recent initiatives by leaders in the region and internationally, and provided a high-level public-private coordination platform to respond to shared economic, societal and geopolitical challenges.
The policy reform momentum in many countries including Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco was a focus of the meeting, along with the attendant infrastructure, energy and investment partnerships with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and international financial institutions and the role of the private sector in economic development. High-level discussions on regional security and humanitarian challenges were also held.
The UAE delegation to the Forum comprised government officials and business leaders, including Sheikha Budoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Vice Chairperson of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce; Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties; Jamal Al Ghurari, Managing Director of Gulf Sugar; Abdullah Saeed bin Thani, Chairman of Thani Investment Group; Noura Al Kaabi, CEO, Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi; Dr Ahmed Behoul, Masdar CEO, and Fahad al Tafaq, Director of the Department of Economic Affairs and International Cooperation - UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.