King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan opened the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa on Friday, 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 percent last year and is expected to grow at close to 4 percent 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.”
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