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2018 AmCham MENA Council conference on innovation, growth launched in Amman

Princess Sumaya inaugurates exhibition on sidelines of conference

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Oct 28,2018 - Last updated at Oct 28,2018

HRH Princess Sumaya inaugurates an exhibition on sidelines of the 2018 AmCham MENA Council conference (Photo by Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto)

AMMAN — Deputising for HRH Crown Prince Hussein, HRH Princess Sumaya on Saturday launched the 2018 American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) MENA Council Annual Conference, held by the AmCham in Jordan under the theme “Commercialisation of Innovation: A Driver for Growth in the MENA Region”. 

Launched with the support of the USAID under the patronage of Crown Prince Hussein, the conference provides an opportunity for businesses to share experiences and develop strategies that will build modern and sustainable economies, according to organisers. 

“Real innovation lies in the ability to enhance the way of living of individuals and the community,” the princess said during her keynote speech at the inauguration of the conference, stressing the need to “ensure the importance of science and technology as the two key elements for growth”.

"Our ability to create and impart knowledge to society determines who we are now and what will we become in the future," she continued, calling on all countries of the region to “apply the knowledge capable of responding to the needs of the market in the 21st century,  and to support mechanisms that create growth and transform ideas into opportunities”. 

Mohammad Bataineh, chairman of the AmCham in Jordan and the MENA Regional Council, extended his thanks to USAID for “their continuous support in making this conference a reality and supporting Jordan in its economic growth and development”, noting that over the course of the two-days conference, participants from across the region and the US will have the chance to “hear from global leaders, experts and practitioners on latest developments in energy, healthcare, information and communications technology (ICT), education and finance, as well as measures needed to create innovation-powered enterprises”.

“The MENA economies are diverse and hold a great promise for the skilled new generations, but unfortunately, we are still one of the least advanced regions in terms of culture and trade,” the economist continued, pointing out that “a critical factor for economic development is the ability of entreprises to develop innovative ideas”.   

In this regard, Bataineh celebrated that “Jordan has taken major steps to enable national innovation systems”, pointing out to the establishment of strategic partnerships and education programmes under Hashemite leadership. 

The conference was also attended by ICT Minister Muthana Gharaibeh, who noted that “Jordan has scored many victories in the field of information technology thanks to the attention brought  to human resources training, and the development of infrastructure supporting entrepreneurs and emerging companies alike”.

In this regard, Gharaibeh praised the high level of technical education in the official universities, citing Princess Sumaya University for Technology and the Jordan University of Science and Technology as examples of excellence.

"It is for this reason that many US companies have done the math and started hiring Jordanian talent,” the minister said, referring to ICT companies such as Amazon and Microsoft.

For her part, representative of the US Chamber of Commerce, Sarah Kemp, said that “Jordan is, and will remain, a strong ally and economic partner of the United States”, praising the economic reforms undertaken by the Kingdom since the launch of the the Jordan 2025 vision plan.

Commenting on the MENA relations with the US,  Senior Vice President of the Middle East and Turkey Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce Kush Choksy said that “AmChams across the MENA region serve the purpose to represent the US chamber of commerce”, stressing that “MENA is the region with the largest American presence overseas, and that speaks to its countries’ potential for innovation, the tenacity of its businesses and their capacity to continue to progress despite the ongoing challenges”. 

With a focus on how innovation can reshape the business relations and position the MENA region within the global value chain, the different sessions of the conference presented a platform for the discussion of processes and the infrastructure needed to introduce innovation as wide scale for business competitiveness and growth. 

In addition, an exhibition showcasing innovations by local and regional enterprises was inaugurated on the sidelines of the conference, presenting participants with first-hand ideas and products that inspire economic growth and job creation.

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