Forum to focus on 21 Arab economic projects



RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN

Published — Saturday 12 January 2013

Last update 11 January 2013 11:41 pm

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Private and public sector leaders gather here today to discuss 21 major Arab development projects aimed at boosting the economies of the region.
Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal will inaugurate the Arab Private Sector Forum in Riyadh, a senior official of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) told Arab News yesterday.
This meeting comes ahead of the Arabic Economic Summit that takes place on Jan. 21 in Riyadh.
The gathering is a joint initiative of the CSC, the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, the General Secretariat of Arab League States and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The forum will witness a presentation of 21 proposals for development projects presented by public and private organizations concerned with economic and development enterprises in the Arab world. It is hoped that solutions can be found for financing these projects.
CSC Secretary General Omar Ahmed Bahlaiwa said the organizers expect more than 500 delegates from the Arab world. Well-known speakers will address the delegates at the forum.
The prominent institutions that will present their projects are the Arab Labor Organization; Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development; United Nations Industrial Development Organization; Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization; Islamic Development Bank; the Arab ICT Organization ; Public Authority for Housing Welfare Kuwait; and the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands.
Bahlaiwa said the inaugural session of the forum will be addressed by Prince Saud, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, CSC President Abdullah Al-Mubti, Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby and Adnan Kassar, president of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for Arab Countries.
The inaugural session will be followed by a discussion. The topics for discussion on the second day of the forum will be the outcome of the Kuwait and Sharm El-Sheikh Economic Zones and the last Riyadh Economic Forum.
A presentation will also be made on the progress of the Saudi economy and the conducive investment climate in the Kingdom.
Bahlaiwa said that it took nearly six months to prepare for the forum by a 60-member committee comprising members from all the Kingdom's chambers of commerce and industry.
The proposals focus on food security, small and medium-sized enterprises, agricultural and livestock enterprises, housing, youth employment and technology-related initiatives.
The Arab world requires 70 million jobs within the next decade.
Under a special arrangement, the two-day program will be telecast live on the Arab Private Sector Forum’s website: apsf.csc.org.sa; the CSC’s Twitter account: @CSC_SA; and the hash tag of the CSC: #Arab_Private_Sector_Forum.
A team of experts in the field of technical and industrial development will be discussing four initiatives to create investment enterprises: To standardize food commodities in the Arab world, develop small and medium-sized enterprises in the region, promote green industries and develop nanotechnology.
The initiatives include implementing a food security project that complies with Arab and global specifications for food products and facilitates bilateral trade and economic integration in the region.
The second initiative focuses on developing a number of Arab indexes related to small and medium-sized enterprises and that includes increasing the variety of value-added resources, improving competitiveness, increasing the size of regional and global trade and facilitating economic and social integration.
The third initiative seeks to increase industrial competitiveness by sticking to environmental standards and promoting the implementation of a green industry network and research centers, through cooperation with universities and associations. This is to achieve technological advancements and support secure production mechanisms in the industrial sector.
The fourth initiative is to launch practical scientific programs to raise awareness of the importance of nanotechnology. The plan is to transfer this technology to the Arab world by transforming it into products and services that can solve key problems such as the availability and affordability of ready-to-drink mineral water; providing secure, healthy food; preventing illnesses; saving new renewable energy; and preventing environment pollution.

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