7th Arabian Business Forum was held at the Godolphin Ballroom of Jumeirah Emirates Towers on Monday.
Andrew Neil, the head of the Spectator, former editor of the Sunday Times and the Economist, and BBC journalist - and chairman of ITP - giving the keynote speech at the forum.
The CEO of Zamil Industrial Investment Company, Abdulla Al Zamil, has kicked off the seventh annual Arabian Business Forum calling for increased regional investment in downstream industries to create jobs for young GCC nationals.
The future of Saudi Arabia and creating jobs lies in alternative energy and manufacturing, says Al Zamil.
Al Zamil, boss of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest companies, says the region can no longer continue to rely on an oil-based economy amid changing geopolitical policy.
As the audience listen intently, Al Zamil goes on to discuss energy - in particular, the massive investment that is currently going into alternative energy.
Afshin Molavi, the author and senior advisor with Oxford Analytica, consultant Shane Phillips, Philippe Dauba Pantenacce, a regional economist with Standard Chartered and Shahzad Dalal, vice chairman of IL&FS Investment Managers, all share their views on the local economy.
Shane Phillips, managing director of Shane Phillips Consultants, says a clear example of Dubai’s strength was its job creation record.
In a century's time, the UAE will be looked at as a textbook case in job creation, says Shane Phillips.
Shahzad Dalal indicates that the US has been written off for years, but there is also a resurgency in industry outside hydrocarbons recently. On the GCC, he says it now needs to rebalance, especially on issues such as fuel subsidies.
An audience ask the panellists 'What do governments need to do to help growth in the region?' Regulations and policies, plus building economic infrastructure at a cost that is advantageous - that will create a comparative advantage compared to other regions, says Dalal.
Safi Qurashi - the man who bought the Great Britain island at Nakheel's artificial islands development The World. After being jailed for allegations regarding cheque fraud, he was cleared earlier this year, and is now back in the market, with the Q Group.
Saudi is a good market to get into, Tasweek CEO Massod Al Awar believes.
Gary Adamson, chairman, Stratum, Safi Qurahi, and Masood Al Awar, Chief executive, Tasweek answers the questions on the future of real estate.
Qurashi also tells the audience that as an Asia-centric global economy recovers, we will see a shortage in Dubai property.
The influence of Arab astronomers over the centuries has been vital, Dr Charles Elachi, the Lebanon-born director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says.
One of the key questions Elachi is wrestling with is the fact that Mars has evolved from a relatively warm planet, to a much colder one. His team is trying to establish whether life could have existed in that warmer time. In about four years time, a new mission will drill down into the planet's surface.
Elachi says he would be "pleasantly surprised" if evidence of life was discovered, and he does sound confident. When it comes to travelling further afield, obviously the distances prohibit exploration.