King of Jordan Reaffirms Commitment to Reform at Opening of World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa

  • King calls for entrepreneurship and inclusive growth to achieve regional prosperity
  • Middle East and North Africa should focus on innovation and not be sidetracked by regional turmoil
  • World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab says meeting is a platform to promote economic and social progress
  • Read full speech here
  • For more information about the meeting:
His Majesty Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa 2015 in Jordan. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

Dead Sea, Jordan, 22 May 2015 – H.M. King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan opened the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, reaffirming his commitment to reform and investment to achieve regional prosperity and peace.

“It is time for a new push, engaging all sectors, to create inclusive growth,” he said. “Our goal is to relaunch growth and investment while deepening reform and inclusion.” He added that measures are being strengthened to support start-ups, business expansion and market-ready skills, and new public-private partnerships are supporting industry, innovation and the most important source of job growth − entrepreneurship and the private sector.

While acknowledging the crises facing the Middle East and North Africa, the king said that countries should not be sidetracked by regional turmoil. “The violence that threatens so many in our region is part of a global assault on peace, law, democracy and coexistence. Defeating this demands a comprehensive, global approach built with security, diplomacy, development and moral leadership.”

He said that despite the challenges Jordan faces, the country has been able to grow at more than 3% last year and is expected to grow at close to 4% in 2015. He added that the nation has the potential to be a gateway for regional and world trade, business and innovation.

He urged participants to grasp the opportunity to build a positive vision for the future. “To define our region by problems and not solutions is to miss huge potential. New approaches and innovative products and services offer unprecedented scope to those who look ahead,” he said.

Klaus  Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said that given the forces that are reshaping the region, the gathering in Jordan is a critical platform for dialogue to catalyse economic and social progress. “The meeting should not be dominated by a bleak picture, but we should focus on the opportunities in the region.”

The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa is taking place at the Dead Sea in Jordan on 21-23 May. With the full support and presence of Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah, this year’s event marks the Forum’s ninth meeting in Jordan and the 16th meeting in the region. More than 1,000 business and political leaders and representatives of civil society, international organizations, youth and the media from over 50 countries will participate under the theme, Creating a Regional Framework for Prosperity and Peace through Public-Private Cooperation.

The Co-Chairs of the meeting are: Omar K. Alghanim, Chief Executive Officer, Alghanim Industries, Kuwait; Gordon Brown, Chair, World Economic Forum Global Strategic Infrastructure Initiative; UN Special Envoy for Global Education; Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (2007-2010); Suma Chakrabarti, President, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), London; Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), United Arab Emirates; and John Rice, Vice-Chairman, GE, Hong Kong SA