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‘2017 WEF one of best summits in region, world’

By Dana Al Emam - May 21,2017 - Last updated at May 21,2017

DEAD SEA — The World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa 2017 was "one of the best summits" held in the region and across the world, a senior forum representative said on Sunday.

The forum, which was held from Friday to Sunday at the Dead Sea, realised its two major goals of providing a platform for young people in the region to share "good narratives" and holding discussions on political and geopolitical issues in the region, said Philipp Rosler, a member of the WEF's managing board. 

He said the 100 Start-up Initiative enabled 100 selected start-ups from the region to engage in dialogue with officials and the business community, expecting these start-ups to create momentum in their countries and encourage others to excel.

“Entrepreneurs from several countries in the region, including Libya, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen and Jordan, engaged in dynamic discussions with country leaders and senior officials,” he said. 

He added that some 500 start-ups also took part in the open forum, which was held in Amman for the first time ahead of the main sessions.

Discussion of political and geopolitical issues covered the majority of conflicts affecting the region, including the issue of refugees and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Rosler noted.

Meanwhile, the WEF official said all this was made possible by Jordan’s hosting of the event.

“Jordan is an extraordinarily good host and we made the decision long time ago to come back every other year to Jordan, a symbol of stability,” he underlined.

At the same time, the forum was also beneficial for Jordan. 

Two days before the summit kicked off, around 25 business leaders, civil society representatives and politicians took part in visits to three refugee camps and development zones in order to get a closer look at the conditions of the local community.

“The rest of the world is always not aware of what Jordan takes in terms of refugees,” he said, adding that Jordan has brought the challenges it is facing to the table of discussion.

On the regional scale, a number of companies committed during the summit to creating jobs and providing vocational training opportunities in a bid to enhance the employability of young people in the region. 

The WEF has a project in Europe to connect start-ups with Silicon Valley and is currently negotiating the possibility of connecting the Middle East through a similar partnership, as young people in this region are “as creative, dynamic and entrepreneurial as their colleagues in the Silicon Valley, Europe or Asia”, the official noted.


Touching on political discussions, he said the summit included many private meetings between politicians and officials that will be “benefitting the region”.

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