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Alabbar calls upon World Bank to establish fund for young Arab entrepreneurs

posted on 23/09/2003: 1447 views


Mohammed Ali Alabbar, Director General, Department of Economic Development (DED), Government of Dubai, called upon the World Bank to establish a fund to support young Arab entrepreneurs from the grass roots level. "We are calling for a new, more inclusive, way of looking at the region, and the challenges its people face," said Alabbar at the closing seminar of the 2003 Program of Seminars, on the eve of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund.



Alabbar also emphasised the role of the IMF in fostering transparent and well-regulated capital markets in the region calling attention to the fact that these had been "engines of transformation in America and Europe in the last century." "The IMF must continue its work here to foster transparent, well-regulated capital markets. This will leverage its immense human capital at home and in the Arab diaspora," he said. "A fully participatory share-owning society is a key step to true democracy," he added.



Alabbar spoke about the UAE's role in project financing in several areas in the region. "Our President has contributed to the construction of a waterway in Egypt, which stretches from Lake Nasser to the "New Valley" in the south-western desert. These waters will nourish high-tech agriculture destined for airfreight to Europe. This project entitled "Sheikh Zayed Canal" will give rise to nearly three million new jobs allowing new communities to flourish one day, easing the pressure on overcrowded cities," he added.



Alabbar also focused on the significance of education in building new business, saying that universities needed to sit down with the private sector and dovetail curricula to the needs of the marketplace. He described the Ertiqaa initiative taken by the Dubai Department of Economic Development in this connection, as a "Self Improvement" programme, which prepared and developed the capabilities of national UAE graduates and placed them in positions of responsibility.



"Women's emancipation is critical and entire economies dare not overlook the potential contribution of half the population," stressed Alabbar. "The UAE has the region's highest female literacy rate-several government institutions employ more women than men. In Dubai alone, over 3,000 businesses, worth nearly US$3.5 billion, are owned by women. Alabbar also touched upon the crucial question of democracy saying that the UAE emphasised fair and just leadership, which has brought prosperity to the people of the country.



"Any ultimately democratic society needs a strong, vibrant constituency of workers with a stake in the success of the system. This working constituency, made possible by job creation, will be the bedrock of the eventual democracies that will follow," he said. He repeatedly called upon global business to join forces with the Arab World to create economic opportunity for the forgotten majority in the Middle East including strengthening institution building across the region to allow a more consensus-driven approach to economic and social progress.



"We call on global finance to help engender a shift in perceptions. The Middle East's destiny is not in filling the world's television screens with more tragedy and disaster. By building a truly prosperous future for all its peoples, the diversity and complexity of the region's problems can finally be addressed," said Alabbar. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)



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