USQBC President Ambassador Patrick Theros spoke on the “Changes and Challenges Raised by Globalization” panel on Monday, and Managing Director Mohammed Barakat spoke on the “Economic Security as a Public Good in MENA” panel, which focused on public-private partnerships. Mr. Barakat also attended meetings at the summit throughout the week.
Ambassador Theros’ panel focused on the impact of globalization felt throughout the region. In particular, he highlighted the stronger relationships being forged between the Middle East and the United States. These relationships focused not just on business, but extend to greater political and cultural connections that will further benefit both sides of the relationship.
“If you are not prepared to invest time and money and learn to build relationships, this is not the region for you,” Ambassador Theros emphasized. He went to say “Smart governments are the ones which will invest in their private sectors to diversify their economies.” Reminding his audience of an Arabic saying that “Capital is Coward.” Ambassador Theros asserted that uncertainty may breed worry but it also opens opportunities for investors. For the bold “in reality, now is the best time to invest.”
Mr. Barakat’s panel focused on the role of Public Private Partnerships in the region and specifically the impact they have on economies in the region and ways in which governments can facilitate further foreign direct investment. He highlighted the necessity of PPP’s to alleviate economic strains on many hydrocarbon economies. Using Qatar as an example, they have created several initiatives like Manateq’s economic zones and Qatar Financial Center to increase foreign direct investment and support the private sector. Qatar has initiated programs beyond its own borders that have fostered foreign direct investment, trade, and job creation.
He also described the impacts of PPP’s and the growth of the private sector, in particular, their affect on stability in the region. He emphasized that a stronger private sector and more economic development programs, foster greater engagement from individuals. This engagement creates more stability, which is critical for this region.
“There is a lot of engagement where we see new laws for PPPs, where the government (in Qatar) is letting the private sector take the lead,” said Mr. Barakat. “To encourage private companies to invest in large projects, the government must lay a framework that protects investors.”
As the nations of Middle East continue to diversify their economies, the impact and significance of the C3 Summit will only increase in the years to come.
The US-Qatar Business Council intends to play a leading role in business development and governmental cooperation in the region. This is an exciting time to invest in Qatar and conferences such as the C3 Summit provide us with additional tools and resources to ensure that American and Qatari business thrive in this prosperous economic climate.
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