The UAE has successfully embraced innovation to enhance its competitiveness and take human development to the next level, and this needs to be replicated at the global level, said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of World Economic Forum, as the Summit on the Global Agenda 2014, the world’s biggest brainstorming event, opened today in Dubai.
“The world does not face only challenges but also opportunities in human development. The key to transformation is the spirit of innovation. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recognized this when he said: ‘Innovation today is driven by effective institutions, strong policies, specialised skills, and an economy where all sectors work together to discover new ways to conduct business. A flexible and creative economy based on a national culture of innovation is the fastest and most sustainable way to reinforce the UAE’s competitiveness on a global level.’ This is an approach that can be translated into an action plan at the global level,” H.E. Schwab said.
In his opening address, His Excellency Sultan Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy and Co-Chair of the Summit on the Global Agenda 2014, said: “The success of the UAE in creating a growth environment is invaluable to finding effective solutions to global challenges and redefining the world’s development agenda.”
H.E. Al Mansoori said the summit has come at a crucial time when the world is facing several new challenges. “Political volatility continues to rage in certain parts of the world and extremism has raised its head in new forms. Genocide and refugee crises have grown to become major concerns, severely affecting a number of countries. The outbreak of Ebola in west Africa constitutes a great public health risk to the entire world. Worries related to unemployment, food security, immigration and poverty persist around the world. Climate change, energy crisis, and scarcity of resources are no more just looming threats but grim realities.”
H.E. Al Mansoori said that in spite of formidable challenges, the Middle East region has attracted positive attention because of growth and development activities in the Gulf countries.
“The UAE in particular has been at the forefront of several initiatives in recent times in areas such as international aid, future of governments, and infrastructure development. As the UAE brainstorms for a better world, sharing the success of the UAE in creating a growth environment will be invaluable in finding effective solutions to crisis situations and redefining the world’s development agenda,” H.E. Al Mansoori stressed.
H.E. Al Mansoori added the UAE is constantly working as a catalyst for positive change in the world and will always remain a beacon of hope for the region and the rest of the world.
Addressing the gathering, His Excellency Sami Dhaen Al Qamzi, Director General of the Department of Economic Development, Government of Dubai, and Co-Chair of the Summit on the Global Agenda, said: “Hosting the Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai is a clear message to the world that we are committed to participate in the efforts to address global challenges. We look forward to work further on building innovative partnerships to help achieve global progress.”
Al Qamzi further stated: “In line with the UAE's quest to embrace innovation, the Dubai Government 2021 Initiative aims to integrate technology in the efforts to improve the lives of people. In this direction, the government has initiated a new framework for interaction between customers and the government, providing customer relations experience in corporate style.”
“In this context, Dubai has also launched the Smart Government Initiative to make Dubai the smartest city in the world through 100 targeted initiatives and 1000 smart services which will enhance the city’s global competitiveness and improve the quality of life in Dubai.
The three-day summit has attracted more than 1,000 participants, including elite thought leaders and experts from all over the world, who have gathered under the theme, ‘UAE Brainstorms for the World’, to discuss possible solutions to over 80 issues of concern to the world.
The summit is exploring a number of topics of current relevance such as innovation, renewable energy, climate change, competitiveness, energy security, corporate governance systems, media and entertainment, infrastructure, intellectual property and internet security. In addition, it is looking at major challenges such as refugee crisis, humanitarian aid, extremism, health concerns and several other issues currently facing the world.
The UAE government also organized a series of workshops in the run up to the event as part of the ‘UAE Brainstorms for a Better World’ campaign. Attended by a number of officials and experts, the workshops provided a platform for discussions and the exchange of views on a wide range of issues that can contribute to the realization of sustainable growth and development opportunities across the world.
The recommendations from the summit, which runs until November 11, will be taken up at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2015.