AIWF Chairman delivers Keynote Address at the ABCC Arab British Economic Summit 2019: A Shared Vision in London

AIWF Chairman delivers Keynote Address at the ABCC Arab British Economic Summit 2019: A Shared Vision in London 3 July 2019

AIWF Founder & Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani delivered a keynote address and participated on a key panel at the Arab British Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit on A Shared Vision (ABES) at the Queen Elizabeth II Center in London on 03 July 2019, held in cooperation with the League of Arab States, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Union of Arab Chambers. ABES 2019 attracted hundreds of senior business executives, diplomats, government officials and investors with an interest in building stronger economic and commercial relations between the UK and the Arab World.

The Summit highlighted the enormous potential for closer UK-Arab cooperation and the keenness of both sides to strengthen their historic partnership. The Summit offered invaluable opportunities for investors, exporters, experts, consultants and providers of services to engage in dialogue with project leaders and decision makers, and was addressed by Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade for the United Kingdom; Rt Hon Baroness Symons, Chairman of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce; Alderman Peter Estlin, Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of the City of London; HE Mr Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States; HE Ambassador Dr Husam Zomlot, Head of the Palestinian Mission to the United Kingdom; and Dr Khaled Hanafy, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers, with which AIWF was proud to partner in September 2018 on its Women, Water & Youth conference initiative held in Amman, Jordan. The Summit also included an address by HE Ambassador Dr Husam Zumlot, the Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK, who emphasised the entrepreneurial spirit of his people and how the economy of Palestine was an integral part of the wider Arab economy.

The Summit’s programme anticipated future collaboration in the high growth sectors where there is significant potential for productive collaboration and which are transforming the global economy, such as modern infrastructure development, smart cities, renewable energy, agri-business and Fintech. Haifa Al Kaylani delivered a well-received address on Agriculture and Water Security in the MENA Region as Founder & Chairman of AIWF, as a development economist focused on gender, food security and water scarcity challenges within the MENA region and internationally, and as a Member of the Board of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, a valued and longstanding Institutional Partner of AIWF.

As the Arab region and the rest of the globe continue to experience a high rate of population grpwth, their agricultural sectors and water supply face considerable challenges. The session will consider to what extent the Arab world will rely on imports to meet local demand for food produce and highlight the investment and partnership opportunities as the region acts to develop sustainable agriculture. The high-level panel was chaired by Sir Peter Kendall, CEO & Chairman, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, and addressed by Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Founder & Chairman of the Arab International Women’s Forum; HE Yousef Khalawi, Secretary General, Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA); Cornelia Richter, Vice-President, International Fund for Agricultural Development; and Fares Hassouna, Director, TNP Worldwide.

During her Address and panel participation, Mrs Al Kaylani shared her insights on the critical development challenges of agriculture and water security in the Arab world and reflected on the importance of trade, entrepreneurship and investment in these vital sectors. She called for a revival of the rural economy as a key priority for MENA economies overall which will require significant entrepreneurship and investment in agriculture. She also stated the importance of recognising the pivotal role of women as key contributors to rural economies worldwide, and shared key findings of the ILO Report on the Future of Work in regards to unprecedented scale and speed of transformative change in the world of work driven by new technologies, climate change and demographic shifts, which are generating great uncertainty as well as income disparity and social inequality in every sector including and especially in agriculture and the rural economy.

Mrs Al Kaylani said: “For all of us in the MENA Region, economic growth and security are intrinsically linked with human security, prosperity, and social cohesion. The Arab world needs a thriving rural economy to meet the challenges of youth unemployment, food insecurity, water scarcity, women’s under-representation in the economy, and to alleviate hunger and poverty challenges. The region needs leaders in business, entrepreneurship and social enterprise to discover, create and innovate solutions to the region’s most critical development challenges. The Arab International Women’s Forum, the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, and organisations like ours provide the necessary networks of support that are so vital to successful leadership in this endeavour.”

Mrs Al Kaylani is exceptionally proud to serve on the Board of the ABCC with whom AIWF has longed worked closely over the years to facilitate Arab-British trade links towards our joint mission to support business leadership and economic growth and prosperity in the MENA region and globally. Over the years, the ABCC and AIWF have been highly successful in their joint efforts to bring top-level Arab and European decision-makers together, focusing on capacity development, highlighting the role of women and young leaders as pivotal to the region’s future economic growth and prosperity, and facilitating the networking and mentorship opportunities that play such an important role in shaping multi-region business growth.

The Board of AIWF congratulates Mr Bandar Reda, Secretary General & CEO of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, and his outstanding team at the ABCC on an excellent Summit. AIWF highly values the Institutional Partnership and MoU alliance between AIWF and the ABCC honouring its mission of creating ‘Friendship through Trade’ and looks forward to continued future collaboration to encourage Arab women and young leaders to thrive and create new business, trade and economic links between the UK and the Arab world.