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Jordan to host World Economic Forum on MENA next year

To be held in partnership with King Abdullah II Fund for Development, the meeting will convene over 1,000 government, business and civil society leaders

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The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will be held at the Dead Sea, Jordan, next year in partnership with the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD), it has been announced. Scheduled for 19-21 May 2017, the meeting will convene over 1,000 government, business and civil society leaders from more than 50 countries, a WEF statement said.

According to the statement, the meeting will provide a collaborative platform for shaping the future of the Middle East and North Africa through public-private cooperation. The WEF MENA was last hosted in Jordan in 2015 and the next year’s meeting will mark the ninth hosted by Jordan, since it was first held in the Dead Sea in 2003.

“If the hope is fulfilled that the region during the next months will have some kind of stability, it is essential to stimulate the economy through public-private cooperation to make any peace effort realistic and sustained,” WEF Founder and Executive Chairman, Professor Klaus Schwab, said.

The meeting will be held at a time when economic reform efforts are being made in many countries of the region and investment and trade priorities are shifting. It will also aim to address continued geopolitical shifts and humanitarian challenges by supporting multi-stakeholder dialogue on the situation in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and the ongoing refugee crisis, the statement said.

Top decision-makers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the Levant and North Africa, as well as key international stakeholders from the United States, Europe, East Africa and other regions are scheduled to attend the event. They will also explore the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a new era in the global economy promising huge opportunities, resulting from the convergence of digital information and technological advancements in various economic fields.

Under this theme, participants will examine in particular how new technologies can be harnessed to create employment, encourage entrepreneurism and drive inclusive growth, especially in this region with a very young population.

“As an International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, the World Economic Forum is committed to supporting the current reform momentum in the region. Jordan, given its long-standing economic and social resilience and commitment to dialogue, is a great partner for this effort,” said Mirek Dusek, Head of the Middle East and North Africa, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum.

Imad Fakhoury, Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and KAFD Chairperson, said that “the return of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa to Jordan during difficult times in the region is a testimony to Jordan’s strategic regional role, resilience and vast economic potential."

"The Forum continues to provide opportunities for partnerships geared towards inclusive development and investing in human talents,” Fakhoury said.