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News Release

PM Fayyad and Representatives of Arab Youth Call for Partnerships for Progress

Lucy Jay-Kennedy, Senior Media Manager, Tel.: +962 (0) 776738542; E-mail: lucy.jaykennedy@weforum.org

  • New, more radical approaches to partnership are necessary to better support Arab economic and social development
  • Public-private partnerships can play an important part in laying the groundwork for success
  • Sustainable communities must be the basis for successful partnerships in the future
  • G8 should condition its support on firm commitments from recipient governments to address the structural problems
  • More information about the Meeting here: http://www.weforum.org/MiddleEast2011

Dead Sea, Jordan, 22 October 2011 – New, more radical approaches to partnership are necessary to better support Arab economic and social development in the aftermath of the Arab Awakening, concluded a panel of regional and international experts at the World Economic Forum Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World, taking place 21-23 October 2011 at the Dead Sea, Jordan.

“It is the people who brought about the changes in our countries and it is the people who are the best partners if you want to consolidate that change,” said Yasmin Galal, an Egyptian youth activist and a member of the Forum’s new Global Shaper Community. “The international community needs to shift away from partnering with government organizations to partnering with the people.” They need to move fast, she said, because young people are impatient for progress. They want new partnerships based on equality, transparency and mutual learning.

Partnerships will only work if they are accountable to the people of the region. Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, called on governments to forge partnerships with all segments of their population – from the private sector to civil society. “There is a lot of talent and experience within our own borders, but outside partnerships offer the opportunity to bring in experience and learning from other countries,” he said. “We need to be self-confident enough to borrow from outside experts.”

Institutions are key to consolidating progress. But reform takes time and public-private partnerships can play an important part in laying the groundwork for success, according to Madeleine K. Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group, USA. “Arab states do not have time to create completely new institutions in the short-term, but they can harness the creativity and drive of private enterprise to energize the ones they already have,” she said.

Muhtar A. Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, USA, and a Co-Chair of the Special Meeting, said that sustainable communities must be the basis for successful partnerships in the future. “We must work to create an entrepreneurial class, encouraging young people to take advantage of the tailwinds provided by the recent events but also to prepare for the headwinds that may blow them off course,” he said. It also requires new models of partnership, working directly with cities, towns and regions rather than through national governments. It will also require determined international action from regional development banks and other partners.

Edouard Balladur, G8 Special Envoy to Support Arab Countries, said that the G8’s Deauville Partnership is designed to provide funding and long-term support to the countries in North Africa and the Middle East now in the midst of change. “If we do not meet the expectations of the young in these countries, it will have huge political consequences,” he said. Galal said the G8 should condition its support on firm commitments from recipient governments to address the structural problems that have created the inequalities that characterize many of the countries of the region.

The Co-Chairs of the Special Meeting are: Mohammed H. Al Mady, Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), Saudi Arabia; Yasmin Galal, Global Shaper, Cairo Hub, Egypt; Muhtar A. Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, USA; Maurice Lévy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Publicis Groupe, France, a Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum; and Soraya Salti, Senior Vice-President, Middle East and North Africa, INJAZ Al Arab – JA Worldwide, Jordan, a Social Entrepreneur

Jordanian Radio and Television (JRTV) is the Host Broadcaster of this Meeting.

Notes to Editors

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For more information about the Meeting, please visit our website at http://www.weforum.org/MiddleEast2011