Doha, QATAR - The World Economic Forum is in Doha this week for the second time in two years for its highly-acclaimed Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable 2007.
More than 200 notable business leaders, government officials, academics and policymakers from across the region and indeed, around the world, will descend on the Four Seasons Hotel for a full day of discussions on Tuesday, in an event that will be hosted by Qatar Airways, a Strategic Partner of the World Economic Forum.
Talks will coincide with the publication of the third Arab World Competitiveness Report, the contents of which will form the main topics of discussion. His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar and Minister of Foreign Affairs, will deliver a special address to delegates and officials on April 10.
Qatar's Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of the Economy and Commerce Yousef Hussain Kamal will co-chair the roundtable with leading business and government officials from Jordan, Egypt and Kuwait.
Andre Schneider, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the World Economic Forum, will be on hand to guide the proceedings.
As Strategic Partner of the World Economic Forum, Qatar Airways will host a welcome dinner for delegates and officials at the Four Seasons Hotel, which will signal the official start of the conference.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, Akbar Al Baker will lead a discussion on enhancing competitiveness within the travel and tourism industry and will also be on a key panel to debate the results of the Arab World Competitiveness Report.
Al Baker said that holding the Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable in Doha for a second time emphasises the growing importance of Qatar on a regional and global scale. Though sitting on the largest single natural gas reserves in the world, Al Baker expressed Qatar's mission to rapidly develop other industry sectors as part of its diversification programme.
"With the rapid development of economies in the Middle East and larger Arabian region, it is important that we talk about how collectively, we can sustain this growth. Whether it be through diversification of industries, or the development of new industries such as tourism, we aren't relying solely on oil and gas reserves," he said.
Al Baker also cited the importance of education in being able to establish a future crop of leaders capable of ensuring the Arab World remains competitive.
"I believe that we need to nurture our home-grown talent in order to create long-term prosperity. After all, the future lies with the next generation," he added.
Sustaining the momentum of growth in the Arab World, and the associated economic risks of going global will be the main areas of discussion during the forum roundtable. Other issues to be discussed in depth include business opportunities presented by the privatisation of the insurance and health sectors across many Arab countries, and the impact on the Arab World of the economic and political aspirations of other countries in the region.
The discussions are likely to influence key economic policies and business directives across the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula in an effort to push these Arab countries onto the global stage, while highlighting the oil-rich nations as not only a great place to do business, but also as exciting tourist destinations rich in culture and history.
The Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable 2007 runs from April 9 - 10, 2007, in Doha. The talks will feed into the World Economic Forum on the Middle East to be held in Jordan in May.
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
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