According to global and regional leaders who participated in the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Marrakech, Morocco from 26-28 October 2010, “the MENA region has the potential to become an emerging market leader and engine of world growth.”
As the event’s website states, the MENA region is exceptionally located between Asia, Europe and Africa, the MENA region acts as a bridge between the dynamic economies of these three continents and offers wide opportunities of partnerships to enhance and foster its social and economic development.
However, despite its attractiveness to worldwide investors thanks to its youthful population, natural resources and geographical location, the region faces big challenges such as accelerating the growth pace inhibited by “simulated” regional conflicts, reducing youth unemployment and eliminating the gender gap.
Moreover, without establishing sustainable solutions to secure its resources of water, food and energy, the regional leaders will have trouble reaching the region’s prosperity target in terms of development and economic growth. Education and infrastructure are other prominent sectors that need further investments and quality improvement.
Held under the theme of “Purpose, Resilience and Prosperity,” the WEF was an interesting opportunity for over 1,000 leaders from business, government, civil society and media from 62 countries to agree on the enormous potential of the MENA region and to discuss the need for greater cooperation and integration between the governments in the region to secure its prosperity in the future.
In this context, the region has no choice but to invest in its two greatest assets: “its people and its resources.” Of course, this implies a wise long-term investment to both prevent these two unique endowments from becoming a source of instability and to cope with the demands of the “fast-changing global economy.”
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum said, “I am very confident that the talent and values are in place to make this region fit for the new realities that we have to face in the world.”
If you are interested in watching the closing session of the WEF MENA 2010, here is the video:
Do you live in one of the MENA countries? What are your impressions from the 2010 WEF on MENA? Do you agree with the WEF participants on the MENA region’s need to wisely invest in its people and its resources over the coming years to secure its future prosperity?
Photo by John Cole/still-images.net © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org)