Best of the World Economic Forum – Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World

I’m just back from the WEF meeting in Dead Sea, 3 days of discussions and opportunities to meet and interact with interesting
people. Sceptics would say that discussions are not enough and meaninglesswithout action. I agree with them and look forward to seeing real results taking place.

In the meantime, I’m sharing some the most remarkable thoughts that impressed me, not in order of importance, nor in order of appearance!

  • “There’s nobody on this panel, nor a VC, nor a bank, nor a Government who will create someone’s job. Just get out of the way of entrepreneurs and investors and they’ll do it.”
  • Don’t ask the youth what they want, they wouldn’t know. Listen to what’s working and multiply it. Take a bottom up approach. (Habib Haddad, CEO Wamda)
  • It’s time to take action, everyone of us is responsible. Starting tomorrow each of us should go to a classroom and speak to young people about entrepreneurship and show them the way. It’s everybody’s responsibility and if you don’t do it I’ll come after you, I’ll know. (An amazing and very heartfelt closing word by Soraya Salti of @injaz)
  • “Building a new political system takes a whole different skill set than tweeting.” By @shadihamid while discussing the impact and importance of social media in the Arab spring. 5- Arab Youth have done the impossible politically. We need to empower them to do the impossible economically. (Again by Soraya Salti of @injaz).
  • We are moving from Capitalism to Talentism. (Prof. Klaus Schwabb).
  • It’s a 3-stage process: we go from Uninformed Optimism (we think we can do it all but we don’t really know what it really takes) to Uninformed Pessimism (we see it not working the way we hoped it would) to Informed Optimism (when we know that it will work and how to make it work). (Othman Sultan, CEO du).

Finally a note of appreciation for 2 remarkable personalities of the WEF. They’re not the most successful businesspeople, nor the richest, nor the most powerful of all attendants. They’re simply the most authentic, to me at least:

  • Awn Khasawneh, nominated Prime Minister of Jordan: for being the most humble, self-aware and apparently clean-handed politician of the Arab World.
  • Amira Yahyaoui (@mira404), the young Tunisian activist, for a truly inspiring 60 second speech on the aspirations and potential of Arab youth.
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