Jeddah Economic Forum: Makkah Governor states that Saudi Arabia has fully opened its doors to foreign investment

Senior government and corporate leaders were some of the prestigious delegates at the opening of the 2002 Jeddah Economic Forum yesterday. The forum comes a few days after a major agro forum that was held in Riyadh under the patronage of Saudi Crown Abdullah.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  January 20, 2002

Senior government and corporate leaders were some of the prestigious delegates at the opening of the 2002 Jeddah Economic Forum yesterday. The forum comes a few days after a major agro forum that was held in Riyadh under the patronage of Saudi Crown Abdullah.

Prince Makkah Governor Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdul Aziz opened the three-day forum at the newly-opened Jeddah Hilton at a ceremony that was also attended by HH Sheikh Salman Bin Hamid Al-Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain, and one of the most powerful businessmen in the world, HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

In his opening address, Makkah Governor Prince Abdul Majeed said that the forum was a sign to the world that the Kingdom openly welcomed foreign investment in different areas of Saudi Arabia’s economy. He added that the theme of the conference – “Managing in Complex Global Environment” – would explore the world economic environment and how civilizations should come together through trade and investment for greater levels of understanding and cooperation.

Prince Salman bin Hamid Al-Khalifa said that the GCC region’s economy must develop with the rest of the world and take all necessary steps forward. The Gulf’s market should have transparency and clarity, and should fight administrative corruption and have constructive criticism to encourage essential outside investors, he said. The development of the technological infrastructure of the Gulf region was the most essential area for expansion and improvement, he added. He also stated that all Muslims and the West should analyze why the September 11 attacks on the US occurred. “Just as surely as we want the US to take some degree of responsibility for the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian, we should look to ourselves for September 11,” he said. “We must address what is wrong in our societies that caused this misinterpretation of Islam.”

The second day keynote addresses (Sunday Jan 20) will be given by former President of the United States William Jefferson Clinton and HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The full three days of speeches and discussions will address some of the challenges facing the global economy after the September 11 attacks on the US. The rich and diverse range of speakers and discussants will debate the role of business in conflict prevention, crisis communications, and the need to develop greater levels of understanding and tolerance between people of different cultures and religions.

On the forum’s third day, the current US President’s brother, Neil Bush – the chairman of IGNITE! US – will start off discussions that will focus on the stability and security of the world’s energy markets and on the role of leadership in times of crisis.

Organised by the Jeddah Marketing Board (JMB) the forum promises incisive presentations followed by open and broad-ranging discussions. “This year’s forum is taking place at a time when the world finds itself at a crossroads,” said Amr Dabbagh, the JMB chairman at the opening ceremony. “We hope that it will present a clearer idea of the way head for international relations, and challenge global business to address very real issues for the wider world.”

Top executives are scheduled to appear at the event, including Dr Ray Irani, the chairman and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, David Rubenstein, one of the founding partners of the Carlyle Group, and Howard Paster, the chairman and CEO of the Hill & Knowlton Group. The forum is being sponsored by some of the Kingdom’s best known companies, including the Kingdom Holding Company, the Abdullatif Jameel Group, the Jeraisy Group, the National Commercial Bank, the Saudi American Bank, the Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC), the Saudi Research and Publishing Company, the Al-Rajhi Commercial Exchange, Dallah Al-Baraka, and the Saudi Cable Company.

Other speakers include: Helmut Kohl, Valery Giscard D'Estating, Walid Ahmed Juffali, Amr A. Dabbagh, Prof. Lester C. Thurow, Dr. Musallam Ali Musallam, John E. Pepper, Wahib Said Binzagr CBE, Marcel Ospel, Abdul Hadi Shayif, Abdullah Said Binzagr, Abdul Rahman A. Mazil, Prof. Glen L. Urban, Dr. Abdulaziz Jazzar, Yoichi Morishita, Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel, Ahmad M. Al-Sari, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Khaled Ahmad Zainal Alireza, Niall W.A. FitzGerald, Mohammed H. Abudawood, Dr. Fawaz Al-Alamy, Dr. Hisham El Sherif, Prof. Simon Johson, Abdallah Y. Al-Moualimi, David M. Rubenstein, Loay Hisham Nazer, Sir David Walker, Taher Mohammed Omar Agueel, Amr Khashoggi, Prof. John A. Quelch, and Hussein A. Al-Banawi.

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