HE Dr Rowsch N Shaways, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq presented around the following key considerations:
- Building external partnerships, able to drive a thriving private sector, would serve to heal inward rifts, with the EU being a great example of supportive economic co-operation driven by a common vision.
- Technological advances, particularly communication, would support national development on a global stage. This would serve to create social equity, focussing on reducing extreme poverty.
- Events, both internal and external, focussing on capacity building and interregional and global co-operation would be essential to Iraq's prosperity moving forwards.
- Iraq’s immediate need to combat terrorism and resolve the internal conflict puts it at the forefront of creating a lasting solution -with a stated intent of national identity being redefined within a global setting to heal divisions and thus support peace.
- A reminder that Iraq’s economic growth was still in double digits, as opposed to the still sluggish performance of the global economy – making Iraq an excellent investment opportunity despite its problems.
- “ A strong yes to the empowerment of Islamic women” ( comment: maybe that could be one the forces of co-operation Iraq could drive within the region?).
That evening HRH Price Charles spoke of taking the connecting ethical and spiritual principals of Islamic finance as guides for a world which is redefining approaches to economic growth. So, some tall orders – blanket Women’s Economic Empowerment, the underlying principles of Islamic Finance integrated into general economic principles and indeed an interconnectedness and interdependence between nations that will drive not just external opportunity but internal harmony.
As the recent publication of the UN Global Compact update showed, vision and statements although nice, don’t necessarily result in action – there is a big gap between what is said and what is done. Over the next couple of days leaders are making commitments, defining goals and setting policies. The follow through action must however be seen as equally important.
To me the success or failure of this 9th WIEF will depend the quality of interaction between leaders and their willingness to collaborate. Otherwise we will have a nice series of sound bites around the importance of inward investment, without the action that will make this proposition truly attractive. If that is the case the visions shared will have dissipated by the time the last bag has been packed and the last plane has left.
The opening address and some of the speeches can be downloaded at www.9thwief.org