DEAD SEA, Jordan: Jordan’s King Abdullah called for more international investment into the Middle East and North Africa on Saturday, saying it was needed to create “positive futures” for the region. Addressing some 1,000 politicians and business and civil society representatives at the opening of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa, Abdullah said that “what happens in our region impacts the whole world.” “Our economic situation is promising,” he said, but noted Jordan’s economy had faced significant challenges as the country was “doing the right thing for desperate refugees.” Jordan hosts some 1.3 million Syrian refugees.
“Reforms are on the way to support and foster a healthy business climate,” Abdullah said at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention Centre at the Dead Sea. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari attended the opening session. “I am convinced that it is crucial to look at the Middle East and North Africa not only as area of conflict but as region of opportunities,” Guterres said. Guterres also highlighted the dangers facing the region due to climate change.
“This region will face some of the world’s worst impacts in particular increased water stress desertification, which will reduce the amount of available land and increase dependence on food imports,” he said. The two-day conference will discuss unemployment, conflict, economic development and climate change in the region. — DPA