As we enter a new phase of globalization – Globalization 4.0 – driven by the transformational impact of new technologies and data, the Middle East and North Africa seeks to create its own path for societal and economic advancement. In a hyperconnected world, partial and isolated responses are ill-adapted to reap the promised benefits that this transformation holds, or to address its attendant challenges. Consequently, to harness this wave, new systems of cooperation will have to be charted in the region, particularly related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, inclusive new social and economic models, and environmental stewardship.
In this context, the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will convene over 1,000 key leaders from government, business and civil society at the Dead Sea, Jordan, to enable collaboration on the most pressing challenges facing the region. With the full support and presence of Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the meeting will provide a collaborative platform for generating progress on the regional agenda for inclusive growth, social advancement and sustainable development. Leaders from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the Levant and North Africa, as well as key international stakeholders from the United States, Europe, East Africa and other regions, will address the transformational imperatives facing the region.
As the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change increasingly affect the daily lives of the region’s citizens – ranging from desertification to water crises to soaring levels of pollution – the sustainability agenda is climbing the priority ladder of decision-makers.
The meeting will build on the World Economic Forum’s expertise on the Fourth Industrial Revolution to unlock action oriented dialogue related to the Future of Economic Progress and its impact at the regional and national levels. As the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, the Forum is well placed to convene such a dialogue; harnessing the current technological waves can be achieved only by mobilizing all sectors of society towards a common vision, shunning protectionism and laissez-faire attitudes.
In this context and building on efforts to advance gender parity in the region, the Forum will extend its platform to some of the Arab world’s most innovative women entrepreneurs. Likewise, additional communities with an important stake in the region’s future will benefit from the Forum’s platform to shape relevant dialogues, in particular young people, innovators and sustainability leaders.