Leaders from the Global Entrepreneurship Week campaigns in Belgium and Pakistan participated in the First International Entrepreneurs Investment Forum in Manama, Bahrain, last week.
Opened by the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, the forum attracted nearly 700 participants from 85 countries, including GEW hosts from Belgium, Somalia, Cape Verde, Pakistan and Armenia. Freddy Nurski of GEW Belgium, represented the Global Entrepreneurship Network as a partner at the event.
The event was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in cooperation with the General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Islamic Development Bank, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and International Network for SME.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon offered a statement to participants at the event.
“I am pleased to greet the participants in this forum, and I welcome your focus on entrepreneurship and investment for inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
The economic and financial crisis of the past several years has been, above all, a global employment crisis. It has affected all countries and regions, and all segments of society, with especially negative consequences for the prospects of young people, as we have seen so vividly across the Middle East and North Africa region over the past few years.
It is increasingly being recognized that industrialization, if conducted in an inclusive and sustainable manner, can create jobs, generate income, increase productivity, transform economies and be a major driver of development. Reaping these and other benefits depends, first and foremost, on fostering a dynamic private sector. In particular, countries need to promote competitive small- and medium-sized enterprises, which are the main source of economic activities and the largest employer in many developing countries -- and the main engines of empowerment for women and young people.
Promoting entrepreneurship and expanding access to financial services are among the central challenges developing countries face in growing a vibrant private sector. Your forum can foster exchanges of expertise and best practices, forge partnerships and identify investment opportunities. Your gathering is also very timely, taking place as United Nations Member States shape a post-2015 development agenda and a meaningful agreement on climate change.
As we move towards a new era of sustainable development, I will count on your leadership and support. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will remain your partner in this important work. Please accept my best wishes for a successful forum.”
The three-day event’s main theme was, “Entrepreneurship and Investment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development”. It explored the main issues faced by entrepreneurs worldwide as well as provided participants with an opportunity to acquire the latest expertise in the field, expand networks, build partnerships and develop new joint projects.
More on the event is available on the UNIDO website.
Photo Source: UNIDO