Emerging from the deepest global downturn in recent history, 2010 is likely to see notable advances towards recovery, with world output projected to rise by 4% and consumer demand to further rebound on the back of public stimulus. The speed of recovery will differ across countries and regions stemming from varied levels of sovereign debt and unemployment, and reflecting divergence in policy responses and national economic structures. Globally and regionally, agile and nimble leadership will prove to be an imperative for realizing sustainable growth by rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding global and regional cooperation, and business models.
Against this backdrop, the Middle East and North Africa's foremost business leaders, policy-makers, intellectuals and opinion shapers from the region and globally are collectively decoding the post-crisis global reality for decision-making at the national and regional levels.
The prospects of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as a global shaper is examined in view of the region's financial liquidity, its demographic potential and developments along its main geopolitical fault lines.
Particular emphasis is being given to re-examine the region's industry agenda. Ranging from second-generation biofuels and high-tech manufacturing to mobile finance and health solutions, the MENA region is acquiring new capabilities with a potential to radically increase competitiveness and advance human development. With over 60%of its population under the age of 25, the MENA region is host to an expanding middle class with the potential to usher in prosperity driven by consumers and entrepreneurship, engaged citizenship and increased human security. This future requires scaled-up individual achievement supported by robust value structures, refined environmental awareness and bold leadership. Particular attention will be paid to sovereign wealth and its heightened focus on regional engagement in such pivotal areas as renewables, health and social systems, infrastructure development and technology readiness.
North Africa: New Business Geographies
Building on its special relationship with the Gulf and the Levant, and its unique market access to sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, the North Africa region is witnessing a further expansion of international business partnerships. Driven by concrete industry initiatives in fields from energy infrastructure and manufacturing to financial services and real estate, this trend is particularly reflected in increased cooperation across the Mediterranean as well as with the United States and Asia.
Source: World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa.