Sheikha Bodour for sup­port to SMES

Un­veils ‘Arab Sup­ply Chain Im­pact Ini­tia­tive’ to sup­port the cre­ation of sus­tain­able economies

The Gulf Today - Business - - FRONT PAGE - BY A STAFF RE­PORTER

SHAR­JAH: As the 4th In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion (4IR) con­tin­ues to take over ma­jor busi­ness chal­lenges and dis­cus­sions across the world, the ‘Build­ing Dig­i­tal Economies in the Arab World’ sum­mit in Shar­jah, or­gan­ised by the Re­gional Busi­ness Coun­cil (RBC) in the Mid­dle East and North Africa, in as­so­ci­a­tion with the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WEF), takes a re­gional lead in ad­dress­ing how joint lead­er­ship across Mena can build stronger economies, steer young peo­ple to­wards and en­trepreneur­ship and shape the course of the 4IR.

Sheikha Bodour Bint Sul­tan Al Qasimi, Chair­per­son of the Shar­jah In­vest­ment and De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (Shurooq), and the Chair­per­son of RBC, took the lead by un­veil­ing the new­est ini­tia­tive, the ‘Arab Sup­ply Chain’, and shared her vi­sion to more than 90 bril­liant minds rep­re­sent­ing nu­mer­ous busi­nesses across the globe.

The ini­tia­tive, which will re­quire a vol­un­tary busi­ness com­mit­ment to early-stage busi­nesses by the RBC mem­bers, who will al­lo­cate 10 per cent of pro­cure­ment spend an­nu­ally to en­trepreneurs and SMES by 2020, aims to func­tion as a di­rect sup­port to small and medium-sized busi­nesses (SMES) in Mena, who make up at least 90 per cent of the com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in in the over­all re­gion.

It also aims to fa­cil­i­tate the over­all growth of these com­pa­nies, which are key cat­a­lysts to creat­ing jobs, di­ver­si­fy­ing economies, boost­ing in­no­va­tion, and pro­vide es­tab­lished com­pa­nies with the flex­i­bil­ity and knowl­edge they need to ex­pand their busi­nesses.

Sheikha Bodour dur­ing her wel­come ad­dress at the sum­mit, said: “We are here to­day to dis­cuss what I think, we would all agree, is one of our re­gion’s great­est chal­lenge, how to build fu­ture economies in the Arab world? More pre­cisely, how can we build dig­i­tal economies that are rapidly be­ing shaped by the fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion tech­nolo­gies?”

High­light­ing the fact that the Mid­dle East is teem­ing with hu­man cap­i­tal and in love with the on­line world, she un­der­scored that this needs to be lever­aged by the re­gion to move be­yond on­line to­wards the dig­i­tal econ­omy and tech­nolo­gies in the realm of 4IR.

“Here in the emi­rate of Shar­jah, we are do­ing just that. This has led to the cre­ation of the Shar­jah Re­search, Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion Park was re­cently launched in con­junc­tion with the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Shar­jah. It pro­vides a free zone ecosys­tem that serves to cul­ti­vate in­dus­try–academia part­ner­ships to ap­ply 4IR tech­nol­ogy in crit­i­cal ar­eas for the re­gion, in­clud­ing the pur­suit of sus­tain­able en­ergy and wa­ter re­sources, com­bat­ting cli­mate change and build­ing in­te­grated trans­port sys­tems,” Sheikha Bodour out­lined.

“The Park is a Launch­pad for pi­o­neer­ing en­trepreneurs in Shar­jah, the UAE and the broader Mid­dle East re­gion, help­ing to trans­form them from job seek­ers into job cre­ators, and sup­port­ing the goals of ini­tia­tives such as Sheraa, the Shar­jah En­trepreneur­ship Cen­ter, which seeks to cre­ate the next wave of ground-break­ing young in­no­va­tors. Through these kind of fa­cil­i­ties, we are sup­port­ing in­no­va­tors and en­trepreneurs – not only in Shar­jah but across the UAE and the wider re­gion,” she added.

The sum­mit was at­tended by Dr. Ah­mad Bel­houl, Min­is­ter of State for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion & Ad­vanced Skills in the UAE; Her Sarah Al Amiri, Min­is­ter of State for Ad­vanced Sci­ences in the UAE; Mariam Al Muhairi, Min­is­ter of State for Food Se­cu­rity in the UAE; Mo­hamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Mas­dar; Pro­fes­sor Klaus Sch­wab, Founder and Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man of WEF; Mirek Dusek Head of Re­gional Strate­gies – Mid­dle East and North Africa, Mem­ber of the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee, WEF; Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Abraaj Group; Badr Ja­far, CEO of Shar­jah’s Cres­cent En­ter­prises; Ma­jid Hamid Ja­far, CEO of Cres­cent. Petroleum, and nu­mer­ous lead­ing eco­nomic ex­perts cov­er­ing nu­mer­ous fields of busi­ness across the re­gion.

Among the lead­ing eco­nomic ex­perts were mem­bers of “The Fo­rum’s” Re­gional Busi­ness Coun­cil (RBC), made up of busi­ness lead­ers from about 40 lead­ing com­pa­nies from the MENASA re­gion the Global Fu­ture Coun­cils, and some of the world’s most in­flu­en­tial busi­ness lead­ers, pol­icy mak­ers and en­trepreneurs, who cap­i­talised on the fo­rum’s sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity to iden­tify and ex­am­ine chal­lenges posed in what is a new era of de­vel­op­ment.

Klaus Sch­wab: Prac­ti­cal So­lu­tions to Flour­ish­ing Dig­i­tal Economies of the Arab World.

The evening’s pro­ceed­ings be­gan with a note by Pro­fes­sor Klaus Sch­wab, who said: “I am vis­it­ing Shar­jah for the first time and I am fas­ci­nated. What I see around me to­day is a fan­tas­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our stake­holder group – politi­cians, busi­ness lead­ers, civil so­ci­ety and, most im­por­tantly, the young gen­er­a­tion. We have to en­gage the young gen­er­a­tion if we want to see any kind of progress in the world, dig­i­tal or oth­er­wise.”

Sheikha Bodour Bint Sul­tan Al Qasimi dur­ing her wel­come ad­dress at the event.

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