Dubai: The World Economic Forum (WEF) is being held in Dubai for the first time, signalling the increasing of the importance of the UAE in global affairs.
In this time of global change, under the universal cloud of the credit crunch and on the back of the recent US elections, this forum has come at an ideal time to trigger discussions on ways to take the world economy forward.
Starting Friday, the forum will bring together world-class academics and industry experts.
The aim of the forum is to come up with integrated responses to current affairs which will then be taken to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2009.
"They will be looking at the current state of the world and, by the end of the summit, there will be a proposed integrated action agenda," Fiona Paua, head of global agenda councils, at the WEF, told Gulf News.
Councils will discuss the major topics of economics and finance, geopolitics and governance and climate change.
As the theme of the Davos summit being the post-crisis world, any outcome from this forum would be very important for global change.
"Hosting the summit in Dubai marks a milestone for us, as part of our ambitious drive towards evolving as a global knowledge economy. It is another defining statement to the world that Dubai is a committed participant on the international stage with serious intent to assist and support in our pursuit of actionable solutions for global challenges," Mohammad Ali Al Abbar, chairman of Emaar Properties and co-chair of the summit on the global agenda, said in a statement.
With the global financial system in turmoil and oil at record prices, the Middle East is currently playing a key role in the global economy, said the WEF.
"The UAE government have expressed such strong support for the forum, that not only are they hosting it, but are also partners of the event," said Paua.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will deliver the opening address on Friday night.
It is the smaller countries of the Middle East that are "integrating into the world economy better" than larger countries, according to data from the WEF.
Smaller countries such as the UAE appear to be benefiting more from globalisation than those states with either large populations or high hydrocarbon revenues.