Arab Strategy Forum
The Arab Strategy Forum gets underway in Dubai on Monday Image Credit: Ahmad Ramzan, Photographer

Dubai: The 12th edition of the annual Arab Strategy Forum (ASF 2019) took off to a high-profile start in Dubai this morning, with global luminaries coming together to chart a roadmap for the coming 10 years to enable decision-makers to build realistic action plans and strategies and overcome challenges around the world.

Opening the forum at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, forum President Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi outlined the objectives of the forum by making forecasts about the new political, social and economic realities in the next decade. “Today, we are trying to formulate a basic understanding of these realities and see where we stand amidst these changes and challenges.”

He said, “We live in a world full of contradictions ... at a time when the flow of knowledge has no borders ... and when we hear voices of extremism and sectarian violence which have impacted economies and resulted in losses of over $700 billion across the world.”

He said the ASF expects three major changes globally in the next 10 years. “First, it will be an economic era with new routes of trade and business and new coalitions ahead of us,” he said, noting how China’s Belt and Road initiative alone would impact 130 countries and increase the volume of trade by six per cent globally.

Secondly, he said the forum would look at technology, the engine of the future as countries across the globe seek to gain control over data and technology.

The third major challenge, according to him, pertained to the Arab world. “With all that is happening around us, where do we stand?” he asked, adding that the Arab countries had rich resources but needed to manage them better and tap them to the fullest.

He said nations must acknowledge these realities, strive to overcome the challenges and see how best they can contribute to a better future for themselves and the world as a whole.