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Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable - Doha, Qatar

Over 150 top policy-makers, business leaders and public figures from the Arab world have garthered in Doha, Qatar for the Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable. The participants at this exclusive regional meeting of the World Economic Forum are discussing how to sustain the momentum of growth in the Arab world.

What policies will be most effective in improving the competitive environment in the region? Which regional and global trends will open up new opportunities for Arab businesses in the coming years? How can targeted reforms support promising sectors?

The event began on (April 9) and will concluded(April 10).

The programme of the two-day meeting will focus on three sectors of Arab economies - travel and tourism, healthcare and insurance services - and discussions on the wider regional environment, including the growing role of Iran, future evolution scenarios for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and the challenges ahead for the new generation of Arab companies that are growing globally.

'As Arab countries continue to make significant progress in getting the market fundamentals right, liberalizing trade and encouraging private investment, a new generation of Arab companies is emerging as global players,' said head of Middle East, World Economic Forum Sherif El Diwany.

'The next challenge for Arab corporations will be to develop their own risk management know-how in order to sustain their capacity to compete. The Roundtable will dedicate a session where CEOs and experts will take stock of the types of risks Arab corporations are, or will be, facing and explore the alternative risk mitigation techniques that would be suitable for them,' he added.

On this occasion, the World Economic Forum will launch its third Arab World Competitiveness Report, which is intended to support policy-makers and business leaders alike in their endeavour to enhance competitiveness in the region.

This year's report has expanded coverage to 13 Arab economies - Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia and UAE. It provides an in-depth assessment of the competitiveness of Arab economies vis-à-vis the rest of the world, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of individual countries while offering a tool to assess efficiency of measures and overall progress.

Since the last edition of the Arab World Competitiveness Report two years ago, the global economic environment has continued to benefit the Arab world economies. And despite a precarious geopolitical environment, many economies in the region have grown faster than in the last three decades.

The previous edition of the report called for more intense reform efforts and, indeed, many countries have made significant progress in reforming and diversifying their economies.

'The report contains a number of policy recommendations that governments can take up directly. They can use the rankings to get an overview of competitiveness in specific Arab countries as well as what the business sector thinks about the competitive environment,' said senior economist at the World Economic Forum and co-author of the Arab World Competitiveness Report 2007 Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz.(TradeArabia News Service)

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