Mideast business leaders propose six-point reform plan

Mideast business leaders propose six-point reform plan
Majid Jafar, chief executive of Crescent Petroleum, speaks at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos on Wednesday. (WEF)
Updated 19 January 2017

Mideast business leaders propose six-point reform plan

Mideast business leaders propose six-point reform plan

DAVOS: A bold six-point reform plan was on Wednesday proposed by regional business leaders, as a possible way to boost jobs and stability in the Middle East and North Africa.
The World Economic Forum’s Middle East and North African (MENA) Regional Business Council issued the report at the Davos Annual Meeting in Switzerland.
The report, “Accelerating Economic Reforms in the Middle East and North Africa,” outlines actionable policy recommendations across six priority areas.
The most pressing changes required include enhancing the efficiency of the labor market, to allow workers to quickly move, at low cost, from one job to another, the report found.
Other recommendations included: Modernizing bankruptcy; simplifying the process of creating a company; strengthening government to reinforce contracts; and building functional mediation and arbitration methods.
The last recommendation was to promote systems of good corporate governance, such as anti-corruption laws, to “promote competitive businesses,” according to a WEF statement.
“The current momentum for reform in the MENA region creates an opportunity for business, civil society and government to initiate inclusive sustainable development. This report is the first collective policy reform recommendation that is concrete and scalable,” said Mirek Dusek, the WEF head of MENA and member of the Executive Committee.
“Each of these six policy reforms marks a milestone along the road to success and prosperity. The current drive and the determination of MENA’s premier group of companies offer promise that it will boost growth and achieve prosperity for all.”
Majid Jafar, chief executive of energy firm Crescent Petroleum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said that the reforms were especially important given the region’s serious unemployment problem.
“We cannot continue to have one in three young people in our region unemployed. We need to transform our economies to enable job creators and not just job seekers,” Jafar said.
The report urged reforms to enhance basic business regulations to enable more private-sector investment and entrepreneurship, and to boost MENA’s legal and transparency frameworks.
“Without fundamental economic reform in these key basic areas, we stifle prospects for progress in the region and hold back businesses’ potential to create jobs,” said Jafar.