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Economic think-tank takes on the challenges of 2011

Patrick Michael / 30 November 2010

DUBAI - Call it what you will. The world’s largest think-tank or a gathering of the best of economic brain-stormers, but The Summit on the Global Agenda 2010 got under way in Dubai yesterday by powerfully signposting the major influences on the World Economic Forum’s roadmap for the next 18 months.

It clearly meant business as it grasped the nettle of a 24-month slow-down that has convulsed the world. Global power shifts, an uncertain economic recovery, population growth, income inequality and resource shortages loom as the leading issues facing the world.

WEF Chairman Dr Klaus Schwab, UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri and Dubai DED Director-General Sami Dhaen Al Qamzi during a discussion at the World Economic Forum Summit on the Global Agenda on Monday. — KT photos by Shihab

Top experts from academia, business, government and society will spend the next three days engaged in interactive workshops and sessions to draw up a priority list for the most compelling ideas and solutions with the aim of improving the state of the world in general and attacking specific and knotty problems that were creating a largely detrimental affect.

The Forum also made a consolidated attempt to identify the latest trends, underscore risks and offer innovative solutions to address these very real challenges that were of immediate import.

These often disturbing trends were revealed by a survey of almost 600 global experts comprising 72 Global Agenda Councils who have come to Dubai with the express purpose of getting a handle on the financial situation. This is arguably one of the most impressive gatherings of expertise and acumen seen in recent years. “I felt gratified by the survey results because they show that the international community is focused on the right issues and that it is on the right track to address them,” said John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary   Fund, Washington.

Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade of Indonesia, and Zhang Yunling, Director, International Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), People’s Republic of China, both cited the G-20 and some of its recent decisions as a prime example of the shift in power from developed to emerging countries.

“This shift in the paradigm means a greater role for emerging economies in global bodies like the G-20,” said Pangestu. “Development issues made it into the Seoul declaration.”

Zhang also sagely observed, “In the past, global governance was done by the developed countries, through the G-8 or G-7. Now we have the G-20. I am not sure if the G-20 can meet all of the global concerns, but the fact that the G-20 has replaced the G-8 means that there will be more emphasis on the interests of the developing world.”

“Rapid growth in the emerging economies,” said Lipsky, “is the only way that poverty will be eliminated and greater equality achieved.” Zhang also made the point that the emerging economies must move towards a new growth model that is more inclusive. “This new growth model should also focus on clean management, the saving of energy and be environmentally-friendly,” he said.

patrick@khaleejtimes.com

 
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