Dubai exemplifies what is possible when people of vision and imagination can pursue their dreams, US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday.
“Here in Dubai, let us keep creating the next generation of dreamers and creators and builders,” Obama said in an impassioned speech televised at the 3rd Annual Global Entrepreneurial Summit (GES) in Dubai.
The US president thanked the UAE leadership for hosting the event and said it was quite fitting for the summit to be held in Dubai.
“Let’s close the skills gap with education that truly prepares our children for the jobs of the future. Let’s help entrepreneurs harness the latest technology to build new networks of cooperation. Let’s make it even easier to access capital. In short, let’s keep doing everything we can to help that aspiring entrepreneur turn ideas into a business that could change her neighbourhood, her city, or her country,” the US president, who initiated the programme two years ago, said.
Obama recalled his address three years ago in Cairo, calling for new partnership between the US and Muslim countries around the world to strengthen the bonds between the peoples. “Since then, we have come together — to foster economic development, to promote health, especially for women and children; and to advance the work that brings you here today: the entrepreneurship that creates jobs and opportunity.”
He observed that since the first summit he hosted in Washington in 2010, the initiative has made progress with training thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills they need to create new startups and helping small businesses expand and hire more workers.
Obama argued that the initiative also helped to mobilise new investments and expand access to capital. It also empowered people, especially women and girls in science and technology. The initiative also helped increase exchange programmes for young people, who are the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, he pointed out.
The US President stressed that such initiatives are more important given the extraordinary changes across the Middle East and North Africa. “People are not only seeking the chance to forge their own future, they are seeking the same jobs and prosperity enjoyed by people around the world. Just as democratic revolutions can be triggered by a lack of opportunity, democratic progress will depend on economic growth that is broad and sustained. And that demands entrepreneurs,” he said.
“I am confident together we can strengthen the ties that bind us as peoples, and we can give our citizens the opportunity and dignity they deserve,” Obama said.
The GES is the leading US government-supported forum for promoting economic growth through entrepreneurship. In 2011, the second GES was held in Istanbul.