Sixth edition of Gulf Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh will feature speakers from diverse economic and social sectors
Hundreds of business and NGO leaders, intellectuals and media persons will converge in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from January 21 to 24 to participate in the Sixth Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF). The event is expected to offer insight on the continuing economic and financial problems affecting the world as well as positive ideas to address the most pressing global challenges.
GCF 2012 is hosted by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), which oversees the foreign direct investment (FDI) flow into Saudi Arabia. Every year, the event addresses the concept of competitiveness from diverse perspectives presented by the keynote speakers and panel sessions attended by leaders and experts in various fields. GCF 2012 takes place just before the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, and is expected to provide a foretaste of the economic discussions in the Swiss town.
The event’s key theme is “The Entrepreneurship Imperative.” The speakers’ list for GCF 2012 consists of over 100 business leaders representing diverse sectors such as the Government, NGOs, Education and Training, Arts, Media and Advertising, Information Technology, Entrepreneurship, Finance Consultancy, and industries such as Aviation, Chemicals, Electricals and Automobiles.
Saudi Arabian leaders and Government ministers attending GCF 2012 as speakers and panelists include Prince Turki Al Faisal, Chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Prince Faisal Bin Abdulla, Minister of Education, and Adel Fakih, Minister of labour.
Canada’s former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, South Korea’s former prime minister, Chung un-chan will also address the Forum.
One of the interesting highlights of GCF 2012 is the dominance of NGO leaders in the speakers’ list. The non-profit organizations make up the largest single bloc of speakers at the GCF. Different panel sessions will explore the main theme from different angles. One session titled “Generation C-Click, connect, communicate, collaborate” will discuss the future of digital connectivity and dependence on the virtual world in conducting business. A second session titled “The anatomy of an entrepreneur” explores the evolution of entrepreneurship and how entrepreneurs continue to change their business practices over the years. One of the sessions titled “Artrepreneurship” looks at Art as an industry that creates business opportunities, generates profit and creates jobs.
The SAGIA event is taking place at a time when there is strong global interest in investing in Saudi Arabia, which has been hailed as the most stable of regional economies that offers tremendous growth opportunities. The Saudi Arabian economy has been unaffected by the political turmoil that has swept across the Middle East. According to latest Business Monitor International (BMI) report, new investments in 2012 are expected to result in 10 percent annual growth.
The GCF 2012 will be the first major global gathering of business leaders from around the world. Mr. Abdulla Uzaib, the CEO of GCF, says: “The GCF is a platform where opinions and ideas from around the world converge. We will hear insights from business leaders, NGOs and thinkers not only about our key theme of entrepreneurship, but also about the major economic and social challenges the world is facing now.”
The Forum is also a major networking event for participants from around the world and Saudi and regional businesses. There is considerable emphasis on startups and medium businesses, as they are the most promising sectors in the fast growing Saudi economy, especially in terms of creating new jobs.
The GCF 2012 also consists of major sessions dedicated to youth and business start-ups. Many of the businessmen and businesswomen in the country are of young age, they are the driving force behind the Small and Medium Business sector.
SAGIA has several ongoing initiatives that encourage competitiveness and growth, with considerable focus on the youth. These include the Saudi Fast growth 100 (SFG100), Most competitive Youth, and Saudi Responsible Competitiveness Index.
About SAGIA :
SAGIA, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, was established in 2000 as part of the new foreign investment law in Saudi Arabia. SAGIA supervises the attraction of foreign investment into the country, and manages Saudi Arabia’s competitiveness agenda in an effort to improve the country’s business environment. As a result of the efforts of SAGIA’s National Competitiveness Council, and the Saudi Government as a whole, Saudi Arabia is now considered the 8th largest recipient of FDI with inflows of 35 Billion USD in 2009, 11th Easiest Place to Do Business according to the World Bank-IFC’s Doing Business Report, and the 21st most competitive country in the world according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.