CAIRO – 30 January 2021: On the 4th day of the World Economic Forum, Davos Agenda, 2021, the Regional Action Group for the Middle East and North Africa met virtually to discuss the policies, practices and partnerships needed to implement stakeholder capitalism and catalyze the region’s transformation for the post-COVID era.
H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, alongside CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Group in the UAE Alain Bejjani, Chairman and CEO of Kuwaiti Danish Dairy Mohammad Jaafar, and CEO of Crescent Enterprises in the UAE Badr Jafar, discussed the region’s priorities in fostering a sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic recovery in a session moderated by Hadley Gamble, a report and anchor at CNBC. Furthermore, the session identified the role played by the policy makers and private sector in shaping the post-covid future for the MENA region.
In September 2020, Minister Al Mashat joined the MENA region’s foremost decision makers, in advocating a shared vision for stakeholder capitalism through the Principles of Stakeholder Capitalism for the Middle East and North Africa, a roadmap that advocates the importance of public-private collaboration and includes the following action points:
Crafting inclusive economic policies and a new social contract
Stimulating economic integration
Reshaping education systems
Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Promoting environmental sustainability
Mitigating global health risks
Committing to good and agile governance, re-emphasizes the importance of private-public collaboration.
Taking an integrated approach to the Sustainable Development Goals, which is focused on effectively incorporating the SDGs into national development strategies, Al-Mashat noted that the seven Principles of Stakeholder Capitalism also align with the SDGs. The first principle (crafting inclusive economic policies) helps achieve SDG Goal 1 for No Poverty, Goal 2 for End Hunger, Goal 3 for Good Health and WellBeing, Goal 5 for Gender Equality, Goal 8 for Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goal 10 for Reduced Inequalities.
The second principle (stimulating economic integration) helps achieve Goal 17 for Partnerships for the Goals and Goal 8 for Decent Work and Economic Growth. The third principle (reshaping education systems) helps achieve Goal 4 for Quality Education, Goal 8 for Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goal 10 for Reduced Inequalities. The fourth principle (harnessing the fourth industrial revolution) helps achieve Goal 9 for Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, while the fifth principle (promoting environmental sustainability) achieves Goal 7 for Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal 11 for Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 12 for Responsible Consumption and Production, Goal 13 for Climate Action, Goal 14 for Life Below Water and Goal 15 for Life on Land. The sixth principle (mitigating global health risks) achieves Goal 1 for No Poverty, Goal 2 for End Hunger, Goal 3 for Good Health and Wellbeing, and Goal 10 for Reduced Inequalities. Finally, the seventh principle (committing to good and agile governance) helps achieve Goal 16 for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Egypt is committed to the principles of stakeholder capitalism, noted Al Mashat, who presented the first of its kind mapping exercise; outlining the 7 principles with the UN SDGs, across the Ministry of International Cooperation’s development portfolio.
According to the 2020 Annual Report titled ‘International Partnerships for Sustainable Development’, Egypt secured $9.8 billion in developing financing with multilateral and bilateral partners; one of the examples of pushing forward with multilateralism and the economic, social and environmental outcomes demonstrating long-term value creation and their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Al-Mashat highlighted that an entire chapter in the report is dedicated to underlining the significance of multilateralism and the Ministry’s activities with the World Economic Forum, as in chapter six of the report, titled ‘From the Great Lockdown to the Great Reset’, the initiative the ‘Great Reset’ launched by the World Economic Forum in May 2020 draws from the vision and vast expertise of leaders around the world to build a new social contract that honors every human being and pushes for a human-centered economy.
During her presentation in front of the House of Representatives, the minister noted that the Ministry also partnered with the World Economic Forum to advance the national and global gender agenda in Egypt by launching the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator initiative in collaboration with the National Council for Women, which helped Egypt become the first country to do this in the Middle East and Africa, noting that it is “an important game changer.”
Al-Mashat expressed that formulating inclusive economic policies needs to incorporate all societal actors, including women and marginalized communities. In July 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation, World Economic Forum and the NCW launched the “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator, the first of its kind public-private collaboration model in Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa, which aims to help governments and businesses take decisive action to close economic gender gaps. Moreover, around 34 projects in Egypt, worth $3.3 billion, are being executed to achieve the targets of gender equality, with the top targeted sectors including Health (20%), Education (14%), and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) (15%).
Al-Mashat said that while the pandemic shook the world economically, politically and socially, it also served as a wakeup call that epidemics and pandemics can cause severe disruptions to economic and social life. COVID-19 also re-emphasized multilateralism, as the pandemic pushed for stronger cooperation between countries to meet evolving humanitarian needs, and it also put forth the need to invest in development and human capital. Through economic integration, the MENA region can further develop due to its regional competitiveness and intraregional trade and investment, which can be further facilitated through collaboration between countries and flexible trade and investment policies.
The time to rebuild trust and to make crucial choices is fast approaching as the need to reset priorities and the urgency to reform systems grow stronger around the world. Under the theme a “Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust” the Davos Agenda brings together world leaders from government, business, international organizations, civil society and academia for a more inclusive, cohesive and sustainable future.