Reflection on World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) 11TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, LSE, London, UK 2013
H. E. Yasir Alnaqbi
Director, Office of Abu Dhabi Excellence Programme, UAE
The mission of the MEKEI research institute is to use research and education to help transform the countries of the Middle East and North Africa to advanced, knowledge-based societies led by sustainable innovation and social advance. Many consider the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as one of the most important emerging parts of the world economy in the 21st century. MENA is strategically vital as it produces the majority of the world’s oil. However, despite the region’s oil, most MENA countries score lower on Human Development Index (HDI) world ranking, with GDP, productivity and investment rates well below the global average. It is, therefore, becoming widely accepted that the dominant economic model of the region – based on the public sector, oil incomes and workers’ remittances – is not up to the challenges of modern globalisation and the needs of advanced knowledge-based societies. Given the apparently contradictory needs of economic growth and environmental conservation, it comes as no surprise that knowledge management, innovation and sustainable development (SD) have had such a powerful influence in contemporary discussions on the future of the region.