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Delegates Arrive In Doha For World Economic Forum's Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable

Doha, QATAR - More than 200 influential business leaders, academics, government officials and policymakers arrived in Doha today for the Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable 2007.

The prestigious event of the World Economic Forum is hosted by Qatar Airways, a Strategic Partner of WEF, the Roundtable discussions will coincide with the publication of the third Arab World Competitiveness Report in the Qatari capital.

The keynote address will be delivered by His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar.

The opening session will begin with the results of the Arab World Competitiveness Report 2007 being unveiled by its Editor, Margareta Drzeneik Hanouz and Tarik Yousef, Dean of the Dubai School of Government.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker and Shafik Gabr, Chairman of the Arab Business Council, will be given the opportunity to present their thoughts on the report and its findings.

One of the key sessions will focus on Iran and the country's political and economic relations with the GCC countries. Iran and the GCC questions the business environment between the Gulf countries and the large Islamic state. Leading this session will be His Excellency Sheikh Hamad, and leading experts from Iran - Mohammed J.A. Larijani, Director, Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, and Hassan Rowhani, Head of the Centre for Strategic Research.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the Arab World. The session on Enhancing the Competitiveness of the Tourism Sector will be co-led by Akbar Al Baker, who is also Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, and Zoheir Garranah, Egypt's Tourism Minister. The session, which will also include remarks by Geoffrey Lipman, Assistant Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation, will address challenges faced in developing tourism infrastructure in the region and identify the untapped potential of the tourist market as a whole.

Sustaining Growth Momentum in the Arab World will be another leading topic of debate, led by the four co-chairs of the roundtable, including Yousef Hussain Kamal, Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of the Economy and Commerce of Qatar, and Zoheir Garranah, Minister of Tourism in Egypt. Tarek Sultan Al-Essa, Chairman and Managing Director of Agililty, Kuwait, and Mazen S. Darwazeh, Chairman of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Jordan are the other co-chairs.

The movement towards privatisation of the insurance industry across the Arab World will also feature at the roundtable with a session on Insurance: Realising the Untapped Potential. This session will focus on insurance as one of the cornerstones of the growing financial services sector in the Middle East. Similarly, in a state of change, the deregulation of the health sector presents many business opportunities in the region and will be central to a debate on Health: Change and Opportunities.

Delegates will work through lunch where a session on GCC Scenarios: A Glimpse of the Future will inspire attendees with variations on the future economic development in the region. A question and answer session will accompany the presentation.

The discussions are likely to influence fiscal policies and business direction across the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula as the report is considered a key economic indicator for the region.

Similar talks were held in Doha two years ago, which were considered a major success. Qatar Airways also assumed the host role on that occasion.

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 next month.

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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