Web posted at: 4/13/2006 1:29:10
Source ::: The Peninsula
Doha: Businesses have been urged to play a direct role in development since the governments worldwide and the UN are being increasingly viewed as a failure on that count.
There has been a failure of development effort and this underlines the need for the private sector, more particularly the corporates, to get involved in the development process.
This was stated by Michael Hopkins, from MHC International, London. He was moderating a key session on the 6th Doha Forum on Democracy Development and Free Trade here yesterday.
Speakers at the session entitled 'Strengthening partnership between private and public sectors' included Dr Ahmed Khalil Al Mutawa, secretary general of the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (Goic); Dr Michael Hajir, director of Educational Foundation for Employment, Washington; Dr Majdi Iskender, advisor at the World Bank in Washington: and William Jefferson, a member of the US Congress from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
The three-day conference being organised every year since 2001 and in which more than 560 foreign and 300 local delegates are taking part, ends today. A number of foreign journalists are attending the forum.
Al Mutawa said that over the past eight years Goic had made feasibility studies on 350 mostly small and medium projects available to prospective entrepreneurs and some 45 per cent of them had been implemented.
In remarks to this newspaper Al Mutawa later said that the organisation was working on more feasibility studies. When told that small and medium entrepreneurs were facing visa problems in Qatar and whether Goic was going to take up this issue with the authorities concerned, Al Mutawa replied in the negative.
In response to a question at the session, he said progress on the manufacturing projects particularly in the small and medium sector, was not as fast in the GCC as in the rest of the world.
In the audience were present a South African woman parliamentarian and Bangladesh's former minister of state for foreign affairs, Abul Hasan Chowdhury. Both of them put questions.
Dr Iskender spoke on private public partnership (PPP) while Michael Hajir talked of ways to combat unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa.
Half of the population in the region (MENA) is under the age of 24 years and 40 per cent of the youth were unemployed, he said.
Over the next 15 years, 100 million jobs will be needed in the region, he stressed, highlighting the social evils like crime associated with unemployment, said Hajir.