Silatech debate urges more jobs for ArDOHA: With the Arab Spring countries facing problems in terms of policy making, a roundtable held by Silatech in the US recently called on the private sector and the NGOs to intensify efforts to create more job opportunities for the Arab youth.
Silatech partnered with the New America Foundation in Washington DC to host the roundtable discussion titled “Back to Business: How Socially Innovative Entrepreneurship Can Build the Middle East” on October 15.
Over 100 people attended the event, which spotlighted the growing trend of social entrepreneurship in the region and highlighted ways in which it can be supported.
Silatech CEO Dr Tarik Yousef placed the situation of Arab youth in the context of the Arab Spring, noting that the short-term dislocation being faced by number of Arab governments has led to a crisis management approach to policy making.
With few prospects of substantial public sector policy changes and initiatives in the near future, he called for the private sector and NGO community to step up their efforts to create more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young Arabs. Aramex Chairman and Founder Fadi Ghandour lamented the lack of inter-Arab trade, and hostility to foreign investment and the private sector, calling for greater private sector involvement in preparing youth for the job market: “The private sector must address and participate structurally in educational issues in the region,” he said.
Dina Sherif, Founding Partner of Ahead of the Curve and Senior Advisor at Silatech, called for a refocusing of US aid and policy to the Arab world toward economic issues: “When Egypt needs to create one million jobs per year, there is clearly a need to restructure US assistance to Egypt to more of an economic focus.”
Christopher Schroeder, entrepreneur and author of Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East, hailed the growth of an ambitious young entrepreneurial culture in the region, and called for US policy makers to refocus attention to strengthen the trend.
Leila Hilal of the New America Foundation moderated the panel.
In another event on October 16-17, Silatech joined with the University of California at Berkeley to bring together thought leaders from the Arab world, Silicon Valley, the US venture capital community, and academic experts for two days to spur innovation, create jobs and encourage entrepreneurship in the region.
“Unleashing Entrepreneurship in the Middle East” focused on topics including how Silicon Valley can support enterprise development in the region, crowdfunding and angel investing, Islamic finance in theory and practice, and social entrepreneurship. In addition to Silatech and UC-Berkeley, other organizations and companies represented at the event included the World Bank, Google, the Skoll Foundation, Techwadi, Sawari Ventures, MIT, Kiva, Shekra Crowdfunding, Qatar Islamic Bank, Crowd Capital Advisors, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar, Karm Solar, Weladna.com, Noofoos.com, Kryptonworx and others.
The Peninsulaab youth