📌 Happening today!
The #WEIF 2022, along with the Annual Investment Meeting, will highlight the potential of entrepreneurs & innovators to create partnerships for a prosperous future as well as find sustainable solutions to 🌐 challenges.
— UNIDO (@UNIDO) March 28, 2022
Over the next three days, more than 1,000 business leaders, government officials, academics and entrepreneurs will be discussing the ways to strengthen global partnerships, entrepreneurship, innovation and investment opportunities for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This year WEIF’s theme is Achieving the SDGs through Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment Post COVID 19, which is closely aligned with the theme of the AIM: “Investments in Sustainable Innovation for a Thriving Future.”
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Integration in a post-COVID world
The forum noted that COVID-19 has severely affected the functioning of Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs across the globe. For this reason, there is an urgent need for governments and the private sector to swiftly adapt to the changing market conditions that take digital transformations into account.
With the pandemic creating unprecedented disruptions to global economies and labour markets all over the world, supply chains grounding to a halt, and lockdowns resulting in the forced closure of many businesses, MSMEs were the most heavily impacted.
UAE’s Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Dr. Ahmed Belhoul told the forum that UAE invested heavily in the healthcare system over the last two years that not only enabled the SMEs to operate, but it also helped to drive tourism in the country.
“Ease of doing business is fundamental for the large part of the SMEs entrepreneurs. Without the confidence and support of the governments, they will not be able to survive,” he said.
“We have learnt quickly that this is far more important than direct financial support. I have had regular meetings with the entrepreneurs, and I constantly hear them asking me, not for funding, not for finance, but for access to markets and access to big multi-national companies.”
Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), touched on the role that small, medium and emerging enterprises play in achieving sustainable development goals.
He said that the UAE gives us hope and confidence in a recovery from the “health and economic pandemics” that the world is going through these days, noting that these pandemics remind us of the “lean days” that the world went through during the years 2007-2008, as a result of the global economic crisis.
Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin touched on the regional situation with regard to the Arab economy as a whole, praising the Arab countries, especially the Gulf states, which he said had “taken the reasons for science and increased investments in education, health care, the technological revolution, as well as their interest in issues of sustainability and climate change.”
He added that these investments gave it the opportunity to persevere, grow and develop, expressing his hope that all Arab countries would follow this example and invest in these areas.