A press conference was held at the headquarters of the Union of Arab Chambers, to announce the activities of the Arab Private Sector Forum to be held in Beirut, Lebanon, on 18 and 19 January 2019, in the context of the Fourth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit at the headquarters of UAC (Adnan Al Qassar Building for Arab Economy – Beirut). The press conference was attended by Mr. Raed Khoury, the Minister of Economy and Trade in the Lebanese Caretaker Government, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs of the League of Arab States Dr. Kamal Hassan Ali, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers Dr. Khaled Hanafi, President of the Federation of Lebanese Chambers Mohammed Choucair and the CEO of Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group, Rauf Abu Zaki.
The Minister of Economy and Trade, Dr. Raed Khoury, stressed that "the summit and the forum are held in a climate of accurate and global economic and trade changes affecting directly the Arab region and countries," pointing out that "the current economic issues and the current global confusion on important topics related to the rules and regulations of trade Global agreements, climate change agreements, current EU transitions, nuclear agreement negotiations, sanctions and other issues make our next meeting a detailed meeting that requires all of us to come up with serious recommendations for practical and substantive action, are to mitigate the impact of the next phase on our citizens, and work to regulate the continuity and growth of our productive sectors, and produces proactive policies able to meet the challenges of technological development in all stages, in order to preserve our countries and our development and stability.
He added: "the Arab private sector has proven its effectiveness and its ability to cope with economic, security, political and social pressures. However, just as everything has limits, we must also pay attention to not exceeding these limits and working as governments and private sector to stimulate investment and raise the level of trade in our region by improving and developing the business climate in our countries to stimulate domestic investment and attract foreign investment, as well as strengthening the financial services and information and communication technology sector be-it the main gateway to the digital economy, where the region has unlimited potential with its human capital, creativity and innovation, as well as increasing the volume of integrated production in the Arab region and export development, in addition to supporting and developing new promising and innovative sectors that encourage small enterprises and youth to innovate."
Dr. Khalid Hanafi, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers, thanked the Minister of Economy and Trade, Dr. Raed Khoury, and the organizers of the Arab private sector forum, noting the role played by the Arab private sector, stressing that the Arab Private Sector contributes with 75 percent of GDP in Arab countries."
Hanafi said: "the private sector is the cornerstone of development. The forum will be held under the slogan "Fourth Industrial Revolution and Sustainable Development for a more inclusive Arab economy." Hence, the aspirations of the Arab private sector to enhance its role in financing development for economic advancement and integration based on the foundations of sustainable development to achieve more inclusive growth through the new and innovative horizons that opened its doors to the fourth industrial revolution."
He stressed that "the most inclusive economy includes not only financial frameworks and systems, but also the containment of women and youth, so that we can reach a Pan-Arab, rather than scattered Arab economy. We look forward to Arab leaders adopting recommendations from the Arab private sector, be-it capable of achieving development by relying on the youth component capable of leading & innovating."
Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs of the League of Arab States Dr. Kamal Hassan Ali explained that "the Arab Private Sector Forum is one of the important events accompanying the economic summit to be held in Beirut on January 20."
He pointed out that "the convening of the summit is symbolic and important signs, especially since it is held after the last summit held in Riyadh in 2013, and it is held after the Arab countries adopted the vision of 2030 to achieve the goals of sustainable development adopted by the United Nations within the three pillars: economic, social and environmental issues. And the summit is also an important symbol that it is held in Beirut, which was hosted by the Arab League in 2002 and issued by the Arab leaders at the time the Arab peace document at the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz (Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia at the time)."
The economy has been at the forefront of joint Arab action since the founding of the League of Arab States. We hope that the Summit will produce recommendations that support Arab integration by discussing the issues and challenges facing our Arab world, especially as there are vital and important sectors that must be heard, the private sector or the youth sector, civil society and women".
Hassan Ali expressed optimism about the success of the forum of the Arab private sector and the economic summit, especially that the preparations for the holding are well underway and in an excellent manner, in order to come up with aspirations and ideas that respond to the hopes and aspirations of the Arab peoples.
"The hosting of the Arab Private Sector Forum and the Arab Economic Summit in Beirut is an exceptional event to discuss the economic and development conditions facing our Arab world," said Mohammed Choucair, president of the Federation of Lebanese Chambers and Head of Lebanese Economic Organizations.
He pointed out that "it is time to deal with the economic and development files facing our peoples and our Arab countries, with great seriousness, in order to reach the stage where we see the Arab world and our Arab peoples enjoy prosperity. And from this point, the Arab Economic Summit must address Issues which is more complex than realism and transparency, instead of ignoring the current reality because the means of achieving integration are clear and only direct in carrying out the appropriate steps."
"The current situation of the Arab world and the whole world is worrying and frightening. Therefore, despite the bright experiences of many Arab countries in the context of the development and well-being of their peoples, no one believes that they can achieve integration and development on their own. This demands convergence among Arab countries, leading to a cohesive bloc comparable to global economic blocs. "
Rauf Abu Zaki, the Chairman al-Iktissad wal-Aamal Group said at the conference, that the adoption of the League of Arab States for the Forum, is considered a recognition of the role played by the Arab private sector at the developmental level, pointing out that "the forum will be held with the participation of more than 500 ministerial, economic figures, Arab chambers leaders & business institutions in the Arab world, in addition to the important participation of economic and international organizations, especially the World Bank. "
Abu Zaki cleared that “the convening of the Arab private sector forum and the economic development summit in Lebanon underscores the pioneering role of Lebanon within the Arab system. We hope that Lebanon will benefit from the opportunity of convening the conference on its territory in conjunction with the formation of the next government and to start implementing the projects approved at the Cedar conference held in support of Lebanon in the French Republic.
He also added: “the private sector, both in Lebanon and in the Arab world, has played an exceptional role in the economies of the Arab countries. It is important for Arab leaders to take into consideration the decisions that will be adopted by Arab businessmen, especially as this sector is the nerve and the engine, the basis for economic development in our Arab countries".