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Sun 4 Mar 2007 12:00 AM

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Family businesses must lead the fight, says Alshaya

Mohammed Alshaya, CEO of Kuwait’s Al Shaya Group — one of the region's largest retailers — has urged family companies to spearhead the battle against the Middle East’s impending job shortage.

Mohammed Alshaya, CEO of Kuwait’s Al Shaya Group — one of the region's largest retailers — has urged family companies to spearhead the battle against the Middle East’s impending job shortage. Addressing delegates on the final day of the CEO Middle East Forum, Alshaya said: “The development and advancement of family businesses in the Middle East is of crucial importance for the generation of much needed jobs and the well-being of all our region’s economies. With over 95% of regional businesses being family-run, most of these ‘new jobs’ will need to be provided by these businesses.

“It is vital for the future of the Middle East that family businesses take this responsibility and embrace this challenge by being innovative and entrepreneurial,” Alshaya added. Highlighting his company’s continual focus on job creation in the Middle East, Alshaya went on to outline the severity of the job shortage situation.

“It is a well-known fact that in the next two decades, the MENA labour force will expand to 80 million new workers. In other words, 100 million new jobs are needed by 2020, equivalent to doubling the current level of employment. Family businesses need to play a leading role in achieving this target.”

Established in 1890, Al Shaya has operations in eight Middle Eastern countries as well as in Cyprus, Russia and Poland. With over 1200 stores, the group’s retail arm employs 14,000 people.

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