H.M. King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan opened the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, reaffirming his commitment to reform and investment to achieve regional prosperity and peace.
“It is time for a new push, engaging all sectors, to create inclusive growth,” he said. “Our goal is to relaunch growth and investment while deepening reform and inclusion.” He added that measures are being strengthened to support start-ups, business expansion and market-ready skills, and new public-private partnerships are supporting industry, innovation and the most important source of job growth − entrepreneurship and the private sector.
While acknowledging the crises facing the Middle East and North Africa, the king said that countries should not be sidetracked by regional turmoil. “The violence that threatens so many in our region is part of a global assault on peace, law, democracy and coexistence. Defeating this demands a comprehensive, global approach built with security, diplomacy, development and moral leadership.”
He said that despite the challenges Jordan faces, the country has been able to grow at more than 3% last year and is expected to grow at close to 4% in 2015. He added that the nation has the potential to be a gateway for regional and world trade, business and innovation.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said that given the forces that are reshaping the region, the gathering in Jordan is a critical platform for dialogue to catalyse economic and social progress. “The meeting should not be dominated by a bleak picture, but we should focus on the opportunities in the region.”
The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa is taking place at the Dead Sea in Jordan on 21-23 May.