World Economy

WEF Mena Meeting Focuses on Jobs for Youth

WEF Mena Meeting Focuses on Jobs for Youth
WEF Mena Meeting Focuses on Jobs for Youth

The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa kicked off Friday at the Dead Sea, in Jordan as it hosts more than 1,000 business and political leaders and representatives from civil society, international organizations, youth and the media from over 50 countries, organizers said.

Jordan’s minister of state for media affairs, Mohammed Momani said that hosting the WEF is crucial to address potential opportunities in the economy and other issues of interest to Jordan and the region, ANSAmed reported.

Topics to be high on the agenda include the challenges presented to employment and jobs by the dawning Fourth Industrial Revolution, the gender gap holding back regional competitiveness and inclusion, the future of Syria and Iraq, and the way forward through economic and political reforms, according to a WEF statement.

The meeting’s theme of Enabling a Generational Transformation highlights the key role that young people will play in realizing the region’s promise. “The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa offers unprecedented high-level participation, with 10 heads of state and government, more than 130 public figures and 500 global and regional business leaders,” a statement of the organizers reads.

It also brings together several groups including one hundred start-ups from the Arab world—many of which have been founded under the most challenging circumstances—including Arabic voice-recognition software developed in Syria, the first e-mobile wallet in Libya, a labor marketplace in Yemen and mobile games produced by a team in Gaza.

In partnership with the WEF and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Jordan is set to announce an initiative to improve infrastructure in countries of the region through public-private partnerships.

Speaking at the joint press conference, Mirek Dusek, head of the Middle East and North Africa’s desk at the WEF, underlined the forum’s “strong partnership” with Jordan over the years, aimed to establish a constructive debate about the future of the region and the enhancement of economic and social inclusiveness.

This year, 235 women leaders will participate in the forum’s activities, a figure that has significantly increased since the 2015 WEF meeting, Dusek noted.

He said that the recently-announced initiative to feature 100 startups from the region during the forum is a move to highlight the “most underreported” story of the region’s innovation scene, and will provide a chance for innovators to discuss the necessary reforms with other stakeholders.


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