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IMD Business Forum excites regional business leaders on globalisation

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, April 20 - 2005 @ 08:27

Over 200 delegates from across the Gulf, at special invitation from IMD, attended the event, hosted at the Grand Hyatt Hotel to listen to industry experts from around the world discuss issues based around globalisation and new growth strategies for business.

Dr Hischam El-Agamy, IMD Corporate Development Director, opened the event with an ‘Introduction to the Globalisation Landscape’. He explained the importance of creating meeting places for the business world and gave a reasoned argument for Dubai’s success being that it has also become a global meeting place.

The next presentation was by Professor Jean-Pierre Lehmann, entitled ‘Asia’s Soaring Giants: The Role of Business and the Impact on Business’.

This presentation covered the emergence of new economic powers, including China and India, and how high levels of wealth are being created in South East Asia. Professor Lehmann explained that, although China’s initial poverty levels were said originally to be a barrier to success, the People’s Republic has managed to develop rapidly due to the expansion of economic freedom and it’s having generated an atmosphere that is friendly to business.

Professor Lehmann commented on the importance of encouraging entrepreneurship and intellectual Property (IP) rights within this framework and he called for Governments to promote more entrepreneurial activity on a global scale.

With the growth of the South East Asian economy, Professor Lehmann predicts China’s production and consumption to grow: China will account for 15-20% of the world’s production in 25 years’ time and will also account for 35-40% of global metal consumption by 2025.

The next presentation by Marwan Lutfi, Director of Business Development of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), was entitled ‘Seizing Opportunities: Dubai and Global Finance’.

This speech covered the importance of bringing global finance to the region and the importance of a fully transparent and regulated financial infrastructure within a Free Trade Zone environment.

This was followed up by an explanation of the business structure of DIFC, including the business, real estate and legal infrastructures that have been created within the Free Zone to ensure the transparency and global business integrity.

Marwan looked to future events to see Global Finance creating further focus on the Gulf, including the formation of the GCC Customs Union in 2007 and Monetary Union by 2010.

After this, John Disharoon, Director of Public Affairs at Caterpillar Group Services NV, from Belgium, gave a presentation entitled ‘States, Markets and the Global Corporation: Perspectives from Caterpillar’.

Disharoon discussed the experiences of Caterpillar in doing business on a global scale rather than solely focusing on its North American business and went on to outline how Caterpillar embraced an ‘Open Market’ strategy.

Caterpilar’s Disharoon explained the importance of negotiation for no tariffs on its capital goods for customers around the world; that no tariffs give more buying power to the customer and increasing employment – boosting productivity within the customer’s country as a result.

The topic of Dr Nahed Taher, Senior Economist at The National Commercial Bank, in Saudi Arabia, was ‘Impact of Globalisation on the GCC: An Economic Perspective’, which provided a detailed insight into the economic status of the Gulf Countries and future prospects within the global marketplace.

Dr Taher began with outlining the reasons for the recent 5% dip in global economic growth: high oil prices compounded by huge spending in the GCC in turn on global imports. She followed with an explanation of the position of the US dollar with actual and real costs on barrels of oil and the position of the GCC states as still relying on oil revenues.

Her most important point was on how GCC countries are still relying heavily on oil revenues, which continue to account for over three-quarters of their incomes. Dr Taher pointed to research from GOIC: revenues in 1991 were at 80% and decreased to 70% in 2001. However, this has seen a sharp rise to 78% in 2003

This was followed by an assessment of the local banks in the region being unable to supply the required funding needed for ‘Mega Projects’ and that international banks are needed in order to create investments in the region.

The final speaker of the day was Professor John Walsh, IMD Professor of Marketing, whose topic was centred on the economic prospects of the Republic of Ireland. The talk, entitled ‘The Evolution of the Celtic Tiger’ outlined the prospects for the Republic as a knowledge economy within an open global market.

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Wednesday, April 20- 2005 @ 8:27 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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