World Economic Forum on MENA 2017 to engineer positive change

WEF MENA 2017 tackled the issue of youth and technology while keeping the regional need in the center-stage

Adopting a proactive approach toward problem solving and devising long-term solutions to tribulations plaguing this region, the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa at the Dead Sea, Jordan, addresses the role of youth and technology.

Making a difference

WEF forum is all set to bring together social entrepreneurs from the Schwab Foundation, individuals who are using modern business methods to achieve wholesome change in the system for marginalized communities, a high-level delegation of Iraqi faith leaders and religious experts from Sunni Islam, Shiite Islam and Christianity, as well as minority groups. With more than 80 percent of the region’s population adhering to a religion, faith communities represent a powerful drive to help rebuild a war-torn Iraq, organizers said.

The forum will also witness the participation of refugees from the Zaatari camp, who will meet with the forum’s Regional Business Council to find innovative ways to build on the success of free trade zones, allowing refugee-made products to reach markets, along with major Jordanian providers who are part of the ‘Internet for All’ initiative, which will be launched during the forum, aiming at ensuring Internet access for all.

Banking on youth and technology

With a focus on youth power, the event has witnessed a record number of Global Shapers (under 30 years) and Young Global Leaders (under 40 years) participation.

According to the forum’s agenda, participants will look into what is needed to achieve a more inclusive future in the region and will explore the causes and consequences of the Middle East’s infrastructure development now and through time.

They will look for innovative ways on how technology can be harnessed to provide quality and affordable and prevention-focused care in the region. Besides, they will take up the issues of the gap between humanitarian assistance and unmet needs and the needs of refugees and host communities alike.

Ensuring sustainable investment

The forum, which Jordan is hosting for the ninth time, will witness the launch of the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP). SDIP is a collaborative initiative managed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Economic Forum, to address specific financial challenges to projects in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Seeking to scale up sustainable infrastructure investments throughout the region, the initiative brings together 36 governments, banks, pension funds and philanthropic organizations committed to mobilizing $100 billion in blended finance for sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure in developing countries. Jordan is the first country in the region to join SDIP as a member,” said one of the organizers of the event.

Several other initiatives to empower women and startups will also be launched during the forum.

Pressing issues facing the Middle East and North Africa will be addressed during the forum, where participants will look into empowering women and the youth, creating jobs for the unemployed, addressing the needs of refugees and host communities and e-extremism.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Middle East and North Africa 2017 will be attended by more than 1,100 political and business leaders from more than 50 countries. The conference is organized by WEF in cooperation with the King Abdullah II Fund for Development under the theme of ‘Enabling a Generational Transformation’.