We were represented yesterday (April 3rd) at the Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East Global Leaders Forum by our CEO, Gregor Koželj. Here is a summary of topics under discussion.

The forum was opened by futurist, Tariq Qureishy, and his main message was, “the future of the world is humanity – there must be a foundation of trust and ethics.”

This was followed by Tim Fox, Chief Economist of banking group Emirates NBD. He discussed the new challenges facing the Middle East in general and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in particular. He emphasised the short- and long-term risk of oil, development of fiscal policy and demographics.

Gregor Koželj (far right) with other panel members at Bloomberg Global Leaders Forum

Tim talked about creating a framework for increasing foreign direct investment from 2.4% (current) to 5% by 2021. Strategies include shifting from infrastructure to technology, data, and information with High Value and Low Risk investments. He also stressed the importance of increasing the outflow of quality goods. While the pricing of oil may be of concern, this risk will force innovation and those in the region are optimistic that they will adapt to the new age.

His Excellency Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment Development Authority was next up and he addressed the subject of the UAE within the GCC in terms of key economic and quality of life indicators. He continued to point out that there must not be competition for human capital between the private sector and the public sector; this exacerbates the problem.

The free movement of human capital is essential. By 2050, 10% of the world’s population will live in another country from that in which they were born. Countries must therefore start treating migrants not as an economic burden but as an investment in human capital. Perhaps even more important are the skills that these migrants bring back to their respective countries.

Phil Lawrence

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