The Crossroads GCC Future Impact Forum, organized by the Harvard Business School GCC Alumni Club and hosted for the first time in Dubai at the Museum of the Future, covered the GCC’s future ambitions and policies.
In his keynote address, His Excellency Dr Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, said to business leaders, academia, and government officials from the region that the common understanding among all GCC policymakers today to unlock future economic growth is through bringing the world together and interconnecting with other economies and markets.
“The GCC is showing a great ability to deal with challenges and threats as well as maintaining its stabilising role in the region and the world through security, stability and prosperity,“ Secretary General Al-Hajraf said. “Today the GCC remains resilient and plays a constructive role within the international community, the GCC contributes greatly to the world economy not only by maintaining undisrupted supply of energy to stabilize the world energy markets,” he added.
Dr Al-Hajraf said that the important challenges for the region and the world are food security, energy supply, economic growth, and cyber security threats, just to name a few. However, he emphasised that we should not underestimate the opportunities we have.
“The opportunities that we have and can work together on include our human capital, investments, transportation, trade, tourism, the environment, artificial intelligence and small and medium businesses, are just some of what we can do together. To capitalize on such Is not only by having a collective agenda, but to make sure that we create sustainable development goals and future development plans,” Dr Al-Hajraf said
The forum, held at the Dubai Museum of the Future, is discussing challenges and solutions to national competencies, governance, food security, healthcare, sustainability and the digital economy in the GCC.
President of the HBS GCC Alumni Club and Chairman of Lootah Holding, Sale Lootah, told the audience during his opening address that the objective of the forum is to carve out policy recommendations and actionable outcomes to support the future policies of the region through public and private sector collaboration.
“The current global strategic shifts opens the door for GCC countries to work together to face challenges ahead of them. The importance of this forum is that it builds the right foundations to collectively solve challenges, and enable the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council to establish themselves as a global superpower over the next 20 years”.
During its first panel session on Leadership in an Era of Transformation, the massive transformations witnessed across the region and the fast evolving socio-economic trends in the GCC Saudi Arabia’s Assistant Minister of Human Resources & Social Development, Mohammed AlJasser, said the His Royal Highness King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman have a great ambition for the country and wanted to see Saudi Arabia competing in global terms, therefore that required a certain amount of change and certain kind of human capital to do the work.
“I have been in the private sector for 22 years working with global and local technology companies, the parallels between government and private with these transformations are the need for speed and competitiveness to achieve our goals,” said assistant Minister Al Jasser.
The Saudi government is becoming citizen centric using various tools, , he added. “An example of that is digitiasation, and that is not on its own, its seen as a means to an end to achieve a great level of customer satisfaction”.
Highlighting his perspectives on challenges and digital transformation, Dr Meshal Al Othman, the Director General of the Kuwaiti Public Institution for Social Security said that his organisation has already registered over one million digital certifications through their online application.
“This number of issued certificates makes more than 60 percent of all certificates issued by KPISS, this shows that the name of the game to deal with transformation, and I cant stress enough on that, is the team that you have.”
Emirates Post Group CEO Abdullah Al Ashram said that while beyond the pandemic the transformation towards digitisation has accelerated the key focus is on aligning with the best teams in any organisation.
“To achieve that we have to have a clear vision and mission to know why we are going towards digital, we have to be agile through defining a dynamic strategy, and we have to build a strong and capable team in an era of disruption where we see talent everywhere, but retaining acquiring them is a challenge, therefore it’s the creation of a team who will be leaders is important and a must,” Mr Al Ashram said.
On the sidelines of the forum, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Dubai Government Human Resources Department and the Harvard Business School GCC Alumni Club on ‘Transforming Dubai into a talent hub’.
The MoU focuses on talent development and supporting innovation through constructive participation and interaction between the HBS Club and the Dubai Government Human Resources Department, to support and accelerate the programs offered by the government.
The agreement also seeks to benefit from insights of members and stakeholders of the HBS GCC Alumni Club to address the most pressing regional challenges, in addition to bringing together experts from various sectors of the club to facilitate discussion and dialogue, and contribute to creating solutions to the challenges facing the governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
The HBS Crossroads GCC Future Impact Forum will continue tomorrow at the Dubai Museum of the Future with more panel discussions, interactive fire side chats and lightning talks.
The Forum will hold a knowledge repository to draw from the vast amount of ideas that will be collected over the two days, which will be developed into white papers and strategic initiatives. The event will also be annually held, rotating between GCC capitals, to emphasize the importance of addressing common challenges in every country.
Furthermore, taskforces and committees will be set to follow up actionable outcomes which are reviewed annually.