Economic diversification in focus

Jordan's "Davos of the Middle East" will host 1,000 participants from 50 countries.

    Speakers at the WEF will include Jordan's Queen Rania [AFP]

    Jordan's King Abdullah II will open the three-day WEF by urging participants to exercise greater leadership in conflict resolution, economic cooperation and development.


    The G11 meeting of Croatia, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay, Sri Lanka and El Salvador is planned for Saturday.


    Nine members have so far confirmed they will attend.


    King Abdullah announced the establishment of the G11 in New York last September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.


    The grouping aims to reduce debt owed by member states, alleviate poverty and raise standards of living.




    While high-level Palestinian-Israeli talks dominated last year's WEF in Egypt, it is no surprise that this year’s meeting will bring together Mahmud Abbas, the Palestinian president and Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister.


    The embattled Abbas is expected to give his speech on Sunday rather than on Friday, as originally planned, as continuing factional clashes in the Gaza Strip killed dozens of Palestinians this week.


    The office of the Palestinian president said Abbas plans to meet Shimon Peres, the Israeli deputy prime minister, as well as Livni.


    Dubbed the "Davos of the Middle East," the meeting in Jordan will cover several sessions on political development in the Middle East, as well as on conflicts and violence in the region.


    A report released, on Friday, by the Global Risk Network of the WEF said that the Middle East is often seen as a focal point of risk, particularly geopolitical.


    'Focal point of risk'


    This is also true in the case of energy security and climate change, as well as for risk relating to global economic imbalances, said the Middle East Risk Report.


    On the economic front, "Industries of the Future" and "Driving for Diversification" are the themes of two sessions that will address the impact of the oil boom which has inflated the revenue of oil-producing countries.


    Their progress in reducing dependence on oil will also be discussed.


    Environmental issues are also expected to be addressed by delegates as many countries in the region face energy shortages - with few working towards clean renewable sources of energy.


    High profile speakers include Queen Rania of Jordan, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, as well as Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi ambassador to the United States.


    Prominent guests include Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan’s prime minister and John Reid, Britain’s home secretary.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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