Under the patronage of His Highness (H.H.) the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the activities of the first edition of the three-day Qatar Economic Forum have started via videoconferencing. The Forum is being held in cooperation with Bloomberg, under the theme 'Reimagining the World' and will be centred around leadership in a post-pandemic world.
The forum, which started today and will run until June 23, 2021, is also attended by a global elite that includes more than 2,000 CEOs, heads of state, inspiring personalities and decision-makers in the fields of finance, economy, investment, technology, energy, education, sports and climate.
H.H. the Amir delivered a speech at the opening session of the forum:
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
"Ladies and gentlemen,
"I am pleased to welcome you all to the Qatar Economic Forum, which is held in cooperation with Bloomberg, and represents the starting point for a series of forums aimed at enriching the dialogue on the global economy and the transition to the post-Covid-19 phase. We are confident that the first edition of the forum will constitute a qualitative addition to the joint efforts of our countries and societies, and the cooperation between them and the business sector, in facing various challenges and building a better future for all our peoples.
"Ladies and gentlemen,
"Our meeting today comes while we are in the midst of a confrontation with the COVID-19 pandemic which has posed a serious and unprecedented challenge to all humanity in all spheres, including the economic field where endless discussions took place about the fallacious trade-off between people's health and economic health, and where a blurriness overshadowed the expectations of international institutions were clouded by uncertainty. Regarding the future prospects of the global economy, especially that the world has not yet moved to the post-pandemic stage in light of the renewed waves of infection and the virus mutations that confirmed the state of uncertain
"Despite this, the International Monetary Fund indicated in its report that the global economy will achieve a growth of 6% in 2021, and this interaction is attributed to the relative recovery of a number of vital economic sectors
"This optimism is attributed to the relative recovery of a number of vital economic sectors during the current year as a result of the financial stimulus plans adopted by many countries to support their economies, driven by the development of vaccination campaigns around the world, with reference to the unequal distribution of the vaccine.
"The adaption of societies to the conditions of the pandemic has led to a massive advancement in digital technology including distance working opportunities and providing online education in an unprecedented way. There is no doubt that this will have an impact on post-pandemic economies as well.
"The pandemic has re-posed major questions related to the relationship of modern societies to nature, society’s expectations of the state regarding public health policies, the state’s relationship with the economy, and global cooperation in facing challenges that cross borders of states, nationalities and cultures, such as epidemics, climate change, poverty and refugee issues.
"It has been proven once again that, first, it is unavoidable to address these questions, and every major event like this reminds us of them, and secondly, sharp approaches do not provide real answers. For example, it has been proven that the role of the state is indispensable after many experts mourned it in the era of globalization, as in the case of the last financial crisis in the years 2008 and 2009, it was found that the expectations of societies in the event of a pandemic are directed towards the state, and that the role of the state is indispensable.
"On the other hand, it has been proven that such challenges cannot be overcome by relying only on the efforts of the national state. Confronting efforts must include civil society and the business sector, and must be coordinated globally, as well as investing in research, anticipating upcoming epidemics, and producing and distributing vaccines.
"These are matters that are not left to the national state alone, nor to the laws of the market and international trade alone to regulate them. It has been proven once again that sharp theoretical and ideological answers are misleading.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"The State of Qatar has spared no effort in responding quickly to the serious repercussions of the pandemic, as we have directed the adoption of a strategy based on three main axes, which is to protect all members of society by strengthening the medical sector, especially the public health sector, providing the necessary support to the economy to reduce the negative effects of the pandemic, and contributing In international efforts to address the virus by providing assistance to relevant countries and international organizations.
"Based on this strategy, we have adopted a national program to vaccinate against the virus, and the program has recently exceeded the number of two million and eight hundred thousand doses, as about 65% of the population has received the vaccine.
"We also directed to take all necessary measures to reduce the economic consequences of the pandemic and to provide support to the affected private sector in the amount of 75 billion riyals.
"We have adopted flexibility and non-extremism in the opening and closing procedures, to be a major approach in dealing with the current situation based on our previous experiences in the face of crises, where proactive thinking and speed of adaptation to various variables constituted a fundamental pillar to achieve progress in our development plans and programs, especially by promoting self-reliance as much as possible. possible in vital areas, adopting economic diversification, supporting the private sector and stimulating investment to achieve our national vision.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"In preparation for the next stage, we have been keen to adopt a balanced economic policy by continuing to expand the gas project in the North Field with the aim of increasing the production of liquefied natural gas by 40% by 2026, and the proceeds of this increase will be used to enhance our investments for the benefit of future generations, which will contribute to diversifying sources of income. We also supported the non-oil sectors whose contribution to the GDP exceeded 61 at constant prices in 2020.
"In this context, we directed to the development of environment-friendly industries and the establishment of legislative frameworks that support the attractiveness of the business environment, such as the issuance of a law regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity and a law regulating partnership between the public and private sectors, in addition to investing in vital and important sectors, including health, technology and regional development We will continue to expand Hamad International Airport and Hamad Port in a way that consolidates the economic openness of our country and enhances our trade relations with various countries.
"We are an exporter of natural gas, which is a low-carbon energy and the least dangerous to the environment, yet we are investing in research related to green, alternative and sustainable energy, and we plan to move Qatar to it, and we also contribute to the global efforts to combat climate change.
"We are all aware that the next stage will not be easy economically and financially for any country. We must cooperate to narrow the gap between developed and developing countries, especially in obtaining a vaccine and facing the repercussions of the epidemic.
"The State of Qatar has taken great strides in this path by providing the necessary assistance to more than eighty countries and international organizations, and we pledged to provide support to the World Health Organization, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and many other international organizations and programs such as the Kovacs Program, which aims to Fair and equitable access to the vaccine to more than 92 countries in need of official development assistance by the end of this year.
"I would not fail here to emphasize that reaching vaccines to confront the Covid-19 virus is a commendable human effort, except that the race and competition of some countries to obtain quantities that exceed their needs, will contribute to the stumbling of international efforts aimed at controlling the epidemic globally as well as impeding the development process in developing and poor countries.
"From this platform, I call on the leaders of the world's countries, especially the major industrialized countries, for more cooperation within the framework of the international system, sharing responsibilities, and working together for a just and comprehensive distribution of the vaccine in a way that establishes for us to build an integrated global social and economic system, in line with the goals of sustainable global development, and achieves the good. and stability for our peoples.
Thank you all, and may the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you."
To hear the full speech, click HERE.
Cover image credit: Amiri Diwan (Instagram)
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