Egyptian participations in the Forum:
Monday، 20 July 2009 12:00 AM
1- World Economic Forum, 1997:
The WEF 1997 round was held in Davos on January 30 - February 4, under the slogan "Building a Digital Information Society" with the participation of more than 100 political figures of the world. The WEF board adopted the slogan "Building…The Network Society" as the main theme for that year. The board decided to put that theme for discussion in order to identify visions of political and economic decision- makers in the world as well as visions of businessmen and intellectuals of this new society expected to emerge over in the coming years and possibilities of adjustment to it. The board specifically selected that theme in view of its relevance of digital information to the building of the network society through communication systems.
An Egyptian delegation chaired by President Mubarak participated in meetings of the forum. The delegation has included Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, Minister of Business Sector Atef Ebeid, Minister of Economy Youssef Botros Ghali, Head of Presiden’s Cabinet Zakaria Azmy and Presidential Political Advisor Osama el -Baz in addition to a number of prominent businessmen.
President Mubarak delivered a speech before the forum in which he reviewed the experiment of economic reform in Egypt and its application and success over 15 years of reform. Mubarak stressed the need to cope with the age of information and technological revolution in the world. He referred to principles of globalization which govern our world and differences between civilizations and cultural identities.
President Mubarak lauded the role of the private sector in providing new job opportunities for youth and called for establishing a region free of fear, attacks and mass destruction. He called for adopting peace based on justice and fair for all parties along with the necessity of enabling countries to practice their rights, considering that peace, for Egypt is both a moral choice and a sacred commitment. Mubarak expressed that peace and prosperity are closely associated to our human heritage and affirmed that Egypt will continue to pursue balanced relations with all countries that may help it with economic reform and debt rescheduling and reduction efforts.
2- World Economic Forum, 1998:
The forum was held on29/1-3/2/1998 in Davos under the title "Priorities of 21 Century" with participation of (16) heads of state and (40) prime ministers as well as great number of senior officials, businessmen and economic experts.
Egypt was represented in the forum by its Foreign Minister and Minister of Economy in addition a number of Egyptian businessmen who participated as heads or speakers in some sessions. The Egyptian participation in this round was opportunity to utilize and invest international circumstances to promote for investment in and economic cooperation with Egypt.
Two sessions were devoted for Foreign Minister Amr Moussa to talk about developments in the Middle East region and measures taken to establish a comprehensive and just peace in the region. Egyptian Minister of Economy spoke, in three sessions, about the program of economic reform in Egypt and scope of success realized over the past years. He projected accurate picture of the Egyptian economy. A number of Egyptian businessmen chaired some work sessions in the forum.
Through 242 sessions, experts discussed a number of key economic issues such as the new environment laws in the sector of industry and their spill-over effects to other sectors of world economy and also modern technology and its effect on the world economy in the fields of communications, computers and services.
3- World Economic Forum, 1999:
The World Economic Forum was held in Davos on January 28- February 2 under the title "Responsible Globalization" with the participation of more than (40) heads of states and ministers of economy, finance and banks and more than 200 writers and intellectuals in addition to 250 senior officials all over the world.
Egypt has participated in meetings of the forum with a delegation presided by President Mubarak. The delegation included the Foreign Minister, Amr Moussa, Minister of Business Sector, Atef Ebeid, Minister of Economy, Youssef Botros Ghali, Head of Presidential Cabinet Office, Zakaria Azmy and President’s Political Advisor, Osama el Baz in addition to a number of prominent businessmen. The forum discussed a number of important issues toped by globalization and peace in the Middle East and the whole world.
President Mubarak delivered a speech in which he expressed the experiment of Egypt in the field of economic reform as a successful model that was free of any crises or set-backs as happened in some other regions. That was due to the gradual merge of the Egyptian economy into the global market. He referred to the reform policy adopted by Egypt to develop the Egyptian economy into the open market system in which the private sector plays the Teading role.
Mubarak referred to the world financial crisis and the reform themes of monitoring capital markets and the role of international institutions in the new world order. He called for transporting the real sources from those who possess to those who do not. President Mubarak called on the industrial countries to participate in achieving structural stability to the emerging markets and highlighted the Middle East as a promising region that deserves to gain access to global economy.
President Mubarak put forth demands of the developing nations to the world leaders as follows:
• The developing countries look forward to acquiring a reasonable part of world demand on goods and commodities and that their markets would not be dumped with products of industrially advanced countries where their products face unequal competition.
• Working to find a means or mechanism to protect the emerging investment markets against negative impacts resulting from the absolute freedom of capital inflows and outflows.
President Mubarak made it clear, atthe press conference, that the way Egypt follows towards freedom, democracy and economic openness is inevitable and affirmed that the Egyptians will not waste their achievements. He said that the only condition to resume trade and economic cooperation between Egypt and Israel is through moving the peace process towards the comprehensive, permanent and just peace and that war will not solve the problems. Mubarak stressed the importance of European role in the peace process as a supportive role for the American one but not as a substitute or opponent.
In his speech before the forum, Amr Moussa lauded the strength and robust performance of the Egyptian economy, including the increase in gross domestic product growth rate and decrease in budget deficit. He said that Egypt ranked first among the first ten countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and others (according to Davos report 1997). He noted that the Davos report 1998 ranked Egypt ninth among 46 countries on the growth indicator to precede countries such as India, Netherlands, Australia, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Austria, Sweden and Belgium.
Moussa noted that all reforms adopted by the Egyptian government are being held under a political umbrella to affirm the merge of Egyptian economy into the regional and global economy, referring to the three stages of economic reform program. The first stage focused on economic stability and and creating a market-oriented economy by reducing budget deficit, liberalizing exchange rate and controlling inflation. The second stage concentrated on three major sectors (trade, investment, encouraging the private sector, reforming the financial sector and deregulating the banking sector). The third stage focused on raising efficiency of banking and financial system, improving exports services to reduce expenses, encouraging exportation, controlling legislations, accelerating privatization process, liberalizing and improving corporate management.
4- World Economic Forum, 2000:
WEF held its 30th Annual Meeting in Davos on January 27- February1, 2000 under the title "New Beginnings: Creating Excellence". This meeting was particularly significant, being the first international summit to be held in the new millennium. Thirty-one heads of state participated in the summit in addition to more than (1500) world political and economic figures as well as men of justice and media and businessmen. Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and his accompanying delegation represented Egypt in this forum. Through 320 sessions, the forum discussed some basic axes related to management, technology, politics, economy, culture, environment, human issues, information and communication revolution, genetic engineering, bio-diversity of diseases threatening humans (AIDS, Malaria and tuberculosis).
Amr Moussa delivered a speech entitled "Time is ripe for a new perception of the Middle East" before the forum, where he affirmed that Egypt has established a stable vision of peace in the Middle East and has supported many agreements to realize this vision. He stressed the need to get ready for the post-peace period and called for creating a new climate to promote regional security and stability based on mutual confidence. Moussa reviewed changes in the Egyptian economy and the project of reviving and promoting technology and Egypt’s distinguished status as a center for Arab computer software industry in the Arab world. He referred to the EU-Egypt Association Agreement, under which a free trade zone will be established. Moussa also referred to accession by Egypt to the Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA). He affirmed Egypt’s recognition that the protection of identity does not conflict with the adoption of globalization.
5- World Economic Forum, 2001:
WEF held its 30th Annual Meeting in Davos on January 25-30 under the title"Growing Development and Bridging Gap between the Rich and the Poor: A Framework for the Future".
A number of prominent world political, economic figures, businessmen, intellectuals and scientists as well as representatives of NGOs participated in the meeting. Egypt was represented by ministers of foreign affairs, communications and information, economy, foreign trade as well as representatives of the private sector.
Egypt has offered the vision of the developing countries of the role that should be played by the new US administration as the first world super power. Egypt, in particular, and the developing countries, in general, are interested in bolstering relations with the US with a view to maximizing use of the new world order. Participants discussed means of making rapprochements between religions and excluding religious doctrines as a ground for dissention among different countries.
In his speech to the forum, the Foreign Minister stressed the importance of assessing the situation following ten years of the Gulf War and the need to respect international legitimacy and to ensure that that such crisis will not recur. He noted that sanctions on Iraq must not continue indefinitely. The minister clarified that he agreed to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in his speech before the Congress that the use of trade embargo or other sanctions may not serve the US interests. He expressed hope that the speech of Powell on sanctions in general reflects a new trend in dealing with this subject and called for making the whole region free of weapons of mass destruction especially nuclear weapons.
6- World Economic Forum, 2002:
Under the slogan of "Leadership in critical times: a vision of a future where all share ", the forum was held on January 31- February 4, 2002 in New York as a sign of solidarity with New York City in the aftermath of September 11th attacks. This meeting was designed to boost incoming tourism to the city that was severely affected by the September 11 attacks. More than 2500 economic and political figures in addition to a number of businessmen and the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa participated in the forum.
The forum centered on six themes as follows:
1- Realizing security;
2- Boosting growth rates;
3- Reducing poverty and achieving social justice;
4- Sharing values and eradicating differences;
5- Re-assessing leadership and governance; and
6- Re-addressing businesses’ challenges.
The meetings of the forum also discussed attempts to revive sustainable development via getting out of the vicious circle of decreasing global investments, increasing unemployment rates, declining rates of consumers’ trust leading to further decline in the volume of investment. The forum also tackled the proposed monetary and financial policies with a focus on emerging markets such as Egypt and how to boost them taking into account the proposed policies to inject funds into markets to help boost growth and recover world economy. The forum, therefore, dwelled on the need to free global trade by finding solutions through negotiations to help settle the mounting differences between the developing and advanced countries.
It is noteworthy that the forum held many sessions on Islam, democracy, extremism, the modern world and terrorism, paying a little heed to the Palestinian cause which was the pivot of many sessions of the forum in the previous years.
7- World Economic Forum, 2003:
Under the slogan of Building Trust, WEF held in Davos its 33rd session in January 23 - 28, 2003 with the participation of more than 2150 of the world leaders and politicians in addition to NGOs representatives, academics, journalists and business figures. The sessions of the forum discussed the following thenes:
1- A vision of global economy and probabilities for the future;
2- Challenges facing corporations and business institutions;
3- Global development policy and how to reduce poverty rates;
4- Security and geopolitical issues; and
5- Lack of trust and its implications.
The Arab League Secretary- General Amr Moussa noted that the UN Security Council is the only body authorized to eradicate weapons of mass destruction. Thus, it is necessary not to wage war a without UNSC mandate. Otherwise, this would be unacceptable. The sessions of the forum stressed that the challenges facing the world at present, including increasingly rates of poverty and the outspread of AIDS in addition to environmental problem, call for concerted efforts on the part of governments, the private sector and NGOs.
Observers see that the 2003 Davos Forum did neither rightly address nor propose solutions for the trust crisis as it should have. This can be explained by the fact that the Iraqi crisis had overshadowed the deliberations of the forum, thus marginalizing other issues. One of the positive aspects of this forum was the endorsement of an "Arab Business Council" involving 40 businessmen from Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Bahrain and Syria.
8- World Economic Forum, 2004:
Under the slogan "A Partnership for Security and Prosperity", the forum held its 34th session on January 21- 25, 2004 with the participation of world leaders, politicians, academics, journalists and businessmen. The forum discussed means to reconstruct Iraq, world trade file, peace in the Middle East, inter-cultural dialogue and reform in addition to the U S –Europe rift.
In the context of this meeting , The President of the Swiss Confederation managed to organize a meeting for 19 ministers of trade from all over the world to reactivate negotiations on new trade agreement. Political observers considered that, apart from the prevailing conciliatory atmosphere, the forum session did not lead to concrete results, given that major issues remained unsettled.
9- World Economic Forum, 2005:
The forum was held on January 26 - 30 in Davos where Egypt participated with a high-ranking delegation chaired by Egypt’s Prime Minister. The forum discussed a number of international issues on the top of which were combat of poverty, famines, future of Iraq and world economic situation. On January 27, a special symposium was held on Egypt entitled "New hopes, old challenges" in which the Egyptian delegation reviewed significant achievements by the Egyptian government and its future plans to attract investments. The Prime Minister also referred to the measures taken by the Egyptian government to boost economic reform with focus on tax and customs laws as well as monetary and banking reforms. The Secretary of the National Democratic Party Policy Committee spoke about the party’s policy of expanding the base of public participation and luring young cadres.
The then Minister of Foreign Trade represented Egypt in the mini-ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization and the Group of 20 held on January 29 - 30. The then Minister of Investment held talks with the then Chief Executive Officer of the New York Stock Exchange on means to boost cooperation between Cairo and New York stock exchanges.
10- World Economic Forum, 2006:
on January 25 - 29, the 36th session of the Davos Forum took place under the slogan "Opportunities for Innovation" with the participation of 2340 politicians and economic figures representing 89 countries including 15 heads of state, 60 ministers and 735 chairpersons of major companies and economic and financial institutions in the world. Egypt participated with a delegation headed by the Prime Minister, and included ministers of finance, trade and industry, investment, IT and telecommunication, transport, health , together with a number of prominent businessmen. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak delivered a speech to the final session of the forum which focused on education and its importance in the overall development process. The forum management entered Mrs. Mubarak on the list of the best world figures involved in the peace movement and development worldwide.
In his speech before the forum, the Prime Minister tackled Egypt’s experience to boost political and economic reform, referring to the first multi-candidate presidential election in Egypt and the measures taken by the government to boost democracy and political action and public participation. He also stressed that any reform should go in line with every country’s internal conditions. The Prime Minister stressed full equality between the Egyptian, Arab and foreign investors, pointing out to President Mubarak’s directives to ease all obstacles before investors in Egypt.
Economic group ministers also discussed European Neighbourhood Policy and the proposed free trade zone agreement with the US. They also held important meetings with CEOs of some major international corporations on economic reform and investment opportunities in Egypt. Some international investors expressed interest in investing in new sugar, cement and fertilizer projects as well as in the novel " green field " projects.
On the sideline of the forum, Dr. Klaus Schwab met with the Prime Minister where he lauded the measures taken by Egypt in the fields of economic and political reforms. He also praised security and stability Egypt enjoys under the leadership of President Mubarak, which provide good potential for attracting more foreign investments.