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Heir Apparent Inaugurates World Economic Forum Round Table

Doha, QATAR – The Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is to officially inaugurate the forthcoming World Economic Forum Arab Competitiveness Round Table in Doha.

More than 200 global leaders from business, government, academia, society and the media will be flying to Qatar over the weekend for the two-day event.

Held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Doha between 1-2 April 2005, the Round Table will feature several sessions where delegates will share their insights on commercial, political and economic developments in the Arab World.

Competitiveness within the Arab World and, between the region and rest of the world will be the focus of the Round Table, being hosted by Qatar Airways, national airline of the State of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said he was delighted to be welcoming so many high-profile delegates from around the world.

“This is one of the most important events in Qatar this year and we are pleased to be able to host such a high-profile Round Table that will attract top political, economic and academic minds from around the world.”

The opening session, entitled, What Will It Take for the Arab World to Catch Up in the Competitiveness Race? will launch the Forum's first-ever competitiveness ranking of Arab world countries in which growth prospects for nations in the region will be identified.

Gender inequality is widely recognised for its negative impact on the economic growth and development of nations. This will be the subject of a session, Women as Dynamic Agents of Change in the Arab World: A Vision for 2020 where various Arab countries will address the issue.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker will be among a panel of delegates taking part in Creating an Investment-friendly Climate in the Arab Region, where the pace of reform aimed at improving the economic climate in the Arab World will be under the spotlight.

The media will be the centre of attention during a working lunch, Arab Media: Reinforcing Prejudices or Catalysing Reforms? in which the explosion of pan-Arab media and its role as a catalyst for reform will be discussed.

Arab Free Trade: Are the Sceptics Right? will be debated by delegates as they probe how countries in the region have been prevented from moving aggressively on the path towards liberalisation and free trade.

Labour market reform has become a critical issue for countries in the region with population growth pushing unemployment rates to some of the highest levels in the world. How governments can create labour market policies to boost job creation will be under the microscope in the session, Diffusing the Unemployment Time Bomb.

Government ministers, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Arab Business League and leading figures from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank will be joined by CEOs, managing directors and chairmen of major companies from the region, as well as political media commentators for the Round Table.

Qatar Airways has signed up as a strategic partner of the World Economic Forum, in which the airline will also host a second Arab Competitiveness Round Table in Doha in Spring 2007.

Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com

Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com

Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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