Opportunity for All: Promoting Growth, Jobs, and Inclusiveness in the Arab World

Marrakesh, Morocco

January 29-30, 2018

Following up on the 2014 Amman conference "Building the Future: Jobs, Growth, & Fairness in the Arab World,” the Morocco conference aims to move the dial on discussions on inclusive growth in the Arab world from endorsement to execution. Participants from across the region's public, private, and non-official spheres will exchange their experiences and lessons on how to create more jobs by exploiting new sources of growth. They will address how to scale up opportunities for women, and youth and promote entrepreneurship and innovation while embracing transparency and technology to unlock the region's potential.

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Tentative Agenda

Day 1 (Monday, January 29, 2018) is dedicated to Innovation Labs. The objective of these labs is to solicit stakeholders’ experience with impediments to growth and inclusiveness and to brainstorm on possible solutions and policy issues to be raised at the plenary sessions the following day and inform the conference press statement.

1:00 pm

Welcome Remarks by Jihad Azour, Director, IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department

1:30 pm

Innovation Lab 1: Promoting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Arab World

Chair: Riad Toufic Salamé, Governor, Banque du Liban, Lebanon (TBC)
Inspirational Speaker: Lubna Suliman Olayan, Chairperson, Olayan Financing Group

1:30 pm

Innovation Lab 2: Making Transparency Work for Inclusive Growth

Chair: Pierre Heilbronn, Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, EBRD
Inspirational Speaker: Olfa Shoukri Cherif, Member of Parliament, Tunisia

3:00 pm

Coffee Break / Innovation Booth – Youth Presentation

3:30 pm

Innovation Lab 3: Creating Opportunities and Institutions in Conflict/Fragility

Chair: Ali Mohsen Ismail Al Allaq, Acting Governor, Central Bank Iraq (TBC)
Inspirational Speaker: Ziad Abdel Samad, Executive Director, Arab NGO Network for Development

3:30 pm

Innovation Lab 4: Leveraging Technology for Higher Growth and Opportunities

Chair: Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, Governor, Central Bank of Saudi Arabia Inspirational Speaker: Khalid al-Khudairi, Founder, Glowork.net

5:00 pm

Coffee Break / Innovation Booth – Youth Presentation

5:30 pm

Presentation of Findings of Innovation Labs

7:00 pm


8:30 pm

Welcome Dinner, Remarks by the Heads of the Arab Monetary Fund and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and Presentation of Youth Competition Prizes


Day 2 (Tuesday, January 30, 2018) features three plenary sessions, a luncheon conversation, and a concluding high-level panel. The objective of these discussions is to share reform experiences, engage on issues raised by the innovation labs to develop views on practical solutions to overcome hurdles to implementation of inclusive growth policies. To encourage greater interaction, innovation booths will showcase young innovators during the coffee breaks.

9:00 am

Opening Remarks

Saad Eddine El Otmani, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Morocco
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

9:30 am

Plenary 1: Creating Jobs for Millions in the Arab World

Millions of youth will join the labor market over the next five years. This session will discuss “how” countries can generate jobs to absorb these new entrants by tapping into new sources and sectors of growth and how government can be an “enabler” in this process. Potential issues to be discussed include: how small and medium-sized enterprises can flourish on a broader scale; creating MENA’s Silicon Valley; plugging the Arab world into global value chains; revamping education to prepare youth for jobs.

Fadi Ghandour, Chairman and CEO, Wamda Capital, Jordan
Ibrahim Manna, Managing Director of Emerging Markets, Careem
Philippe Le Houérou, CEO, International Finance Corporation (TBC)
Sherif Kamel, Vice President for Information Management and Professor of Management, American University in Cairo

Moderator: Lara Habib, Senior Business News Presenter, Al Arabiya

10:45 am

Coffee Break / Innovation Booth – Youth Presentation

11:15 am

Plenary 2: Scaling Up Inclusion and Opportunities in the Arab World

The session focuses on how to scale up economic opportunities for youth, women, and refugees—to drive growth and ensure its benefits are widely distributed. Potential issues for discussion include: how can Fintech promote financial access by youth, women and small and medium-sized enterprises; what is needed to empower women and enable their participation in the labor market; how can well-targeted social safety nets protect the vulnerable and empower them; and how can countries in conflict confront the challenges of youth employment and skills development.

Rafat Ali Al-Akhali, CEO, Resonate! Yemen Foundation, Yemen
Ashraf Sabry, Founder and CEO, Fawry Mobile Banking, Egypt
Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidary, Egypt
Janet Heckman, MD for Southern & Eastern Asia, EBRD

Moderator: Faïçal Tadlaoui, Journalist, TV and Radio Host and Producer, Atlantic Radio & Medi1 TV, Morocco

1:15 pm

Conversation with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Arab Women’s Empowerment

Lubna Al Qasimi, President, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Hanan Ashrawi, Legislator, Palestinian Activist and Scholar
Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, President, Moroccan Confederation of Businesses
Samar Samir Mezghanni, Tunisian Author and Advocate for Youth Empowerment

2:15 pm

Coffee Break / Innovation Booth – Youth Presentation

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm

Address: Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister, Tunisia

3:00 pm

Plenary 3: Government as Enabler for Inclusive Growth

This session discusses how governments can re-direct their policies and budgets to foster private sector activity and promote greater inclusiveness. Potential issues for discussion include what governments can do to: prepare youth for work via smarter education spending; build infrastructure for growth and trade; design pro-growth and fair revenue sources; improve transparency and accountability; and ensure adequate social protection.

• Abdellatif Jouahri, Governor, Central Bank of Morocco
 Taoufik Rajhi, Minister of Major Reforms, Tunisia
• Manar Al-Moneef, CEO, Renewable Energy, MENAT, General Electric, Saudi Arabia
• Ali Ghezawi, Minister of Labor, Jordan

ModeratorLubna Bouza, Acting Chief Editor, Business News, Sky News Arabia

4:00 pm

Coffee Break / ICD / METAC Presentation

4:30 pm

Closing Panel: Shared Responsibility for Inclusive Growth

• Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad, Chairman, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
• Abdulrahman Al Hamidy, Director General and Chairman of the Board, Arab Monetary Fund
• Tarek Amer, Governor, Central Bank of Egypt
• Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Economy and Finance, Morocco

ModeratorChristine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

7:00 pm
Closing Dinner and Cultural Show