Beirut Institute and A.T. Kearney's National Transformations Institute have issued a substantive report titled ‘Constructing the Arab Region’s Engagement in the Emerging Global Future’. The report presents innovative policy recommendations from senior global and regional policy-makers, thought leaders and next generation innovators following Beirut Institute Summit Edition II which took place in May 2018.

With the goal of accelerating the positive transformation of the Arab region, the report offers a policy roadmap around which regional leaders can potentially align. The recommendations highlight the importance of accelerating economic integration and investment in the region, embracing technology and the empowering its diverse people.

Commenting on the report, Beirut Institute Summit distinguished Co-chair His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal, said: “In May, Beirut Institute convened a remarkable and diverse group of prominent government officials, public and private sector leaders, and next generation innovators from around the world and across the Arab region.  Our purpose was to collaboratively generate frank, innovative and compelling insights regarding the specific ways in which the Arab region can most effectively construct its engagement in the emerging global future in the highest interest of all of its people. The resulting recommendations represent a policy roadmap that merits urgent consideration and action on the part of leaders across the region.”

Raghida Dergham, Beirut Institute Founder and Executive Chairman, said       “The unique value of this policy roadmap is a function of the remarkable expertise and experience of the Summit participants and the richly collaborative dialogue to which they contributed. The recommendations focus on how such collaboration can lead the acceleration of the Arab region’s ongoing transformation.” Dergham pointed to the five fundamental strategic imperatives that the recommendations defined: Strengthen the Forces of Order; Accelerate Connected Regional Economic Development; Promote Whole-of-Nation Good Governance; Empower the Diverse People of the Arab Region; Embrace a Technology-Fueled Future.

Given the increasingly disruptive geopolitical, technological and socio-economic changes underway globally and regionally, the five fundamental strategic imperatives that have been defined are: 

1.    Strengthen the Forces of Order

For the Arab Region to construct its engagement in the emerging global future effectively and capitalize fully on the vast potential value of its unique position at the crossroads of three continents, geopolitical stability is a fundamental requirement. The effort to strengthen the forces of order must be based on shared strategic interests – both in the region and globally – centered on the widely shared benefits of advancing stability, integration and growth. The report recommends establishing the strategic foundations for regional stability by driving great power alignment around shared interests and deepened Arab strategic integration; neutralizing conflicts through comprehensive coalition-based action; strengthening nation-states and local governments; and revitalizing progress on the issue of Palestine.

2.    Accelerate Connected Regional Economic Development

While the near-term global economic outlook is positive, including in the Middle East, the report highlights that the escalation of protectionist trade measures and the growing political momentum of populists around the world are making the long-term economic outlook increasingly uncertain. In this context, there is a need to transition to a new model of sustainable, locally-driven economic development, both on the national and regional level. The specific recommendations focus on increasing regional economic integration, investing in regionally connective infrastructure, fostering an environment conducive to entrepreneurship, and facilitate the formation of productive public-private-partnership.

3.    Promote Whole-of-Nation Good Governance

Around the world, the delivery of citizen services is being rapidly transformed by the advancement of new technologies and process innovations driven by leading cities. This presents an opportunity to strengthen the governance of the Arab region at the local level. The report calls for supporting collaborative progress toward a new social contract, strengthening decentralized local representation and voice in policy-making by empowering local bodies, and reducing sectarian political divisions by advancing more inclusive political processes.

4.    Empower the Diverse People of the Arab Region

The Arab region continues to face the challenge of sectarian divisions. The report urges regional leadership – political, religious, civil society, and private sector – to drive towards a more inclusive and tolerant future for the region. This is reflected in the report’s recommendations to promote the values of inclusion, tolerance and progress, enable the region’s future leaders, systematically empower the region’s women and embrace an inclusive and future-oriented vision.

5.    Embrace a Technology-Fueled Future

To ensure that the region is competitive in a technology-fueled global future, the report recommends that the Arab Region rapidly embrace this disruption, in particular by: investing in enhancing the connective infrastructure of the Arab world, leveraging technology to empower local governments, increase transparency, advance legal literacy and combat corruption, and deploying new technologies to drive more efficient and sustainable management of critical resources across the region.

Rudolph Lohmeyer, Vice President of A.T. Kearney’s National Transformations Institute concluded: “The recommendations in each of these areas represent the proposals around which there was greatest alignment among the Summit participants. Their intent is to accelerate the progress of the region in the context of the period of deep structural change that is unfolding globally. Taken together, the proposals represent a roadmap by which the Arab region can engage in, benefit from and contribute to the emerging global future in the highest interest of all of its diverse people.”

 

Source: Grayling