JEF opens with focus on economic diversification

JEF opens with focus on economic diversification
Updated 03 March 2016

JEF opens with focus on economic diversification

JEF opens with focus on economic diversification

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF) was inaugurated on Tuesday night, with Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal calling for purposeful discussion on public-private partnerships as key to further economic progress.
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Mehmet Simsek, speaking on the occasion, said that after the global crisis, the world economy is now growing at a modest pace. Only Saudi Arabia and Turkey managed to deliver their commitments to G-20, he added.
Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, giving a presentation about the activities of his ministry, said private sector was a partner.
"We work hand-in-hand with the private sector to boost diversification of the economy," he added.
Commenting on JEF, a regional analyst said: “What is increasingly required in the GCC is a fundamental paradigm shift in the economic model, away from the nexus between oil and government to a model where the private sector takes the fore. This will not happen by itself. It requires concerted efforts to downsize the government and encourage private participation.”
He added: “Important elements of this are proactive steps to redraw the public-private demarcation line by transferring traditionally public sector activities to the private sector through modalities such as PPPs. This is new for the region and in this sense informed discussion and debate among experts is critical. It is also needed to build awareness of the challenges and the solutions.”
Saleh Kamel, chairman of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), which has organized the three-day event, in his welcome remarks hoped the forum would realize its set objectives.
Minister Al-Rabiah also said the Kingdom’s economy had remained buoyant despite oil price fluctuations and congratulated organizers for selecting PPP as the theme for the forum. The future economic progress hinges on the coordination of public-private partnerships, he added.
A documentary film giving an overview of the previous JEFs was screened on the occasion.
 A number of high-profile Saudi and global economic experts and chief executive officers are attending the JEF, which will discuss the many opportunities that are opening up in view of the government’s privatization drive.
The forum, organized every year by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI), has come to be known as "Davos of the Middle East."