The three-day World Government Summit was sponsored by the Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and was attended by more than 4,000 regional and international figures. It shed light on disturbing Arab and world realities. The speakers pointed out many important issues and challenges facing the world that need real efforts to combat them. The World Government Summit is a non-profit organization and a global platform that examines the areas of government action and innovation and explores the future of governments around the world.
The fact is that the world today, whether Arab or Western, faces many challenges. But the Arab world seems more influenced by the conflicts that have affected its development. For example, 57 million Arabs are illiterate and 13.5 million Arab children did not attend school this year! This is a very sad reality, especially since 30 million Arabs are living below the poverty line.
According to the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science (ALECSO), the illiteracy rate in the Arab countries in 2018 was 21 percent compared to the 13.6 percent global average, a rate that is likely to rise in light of the educational conditions experienced by some Arab countries because of the crises and armed conflicts there. Statistics also indicate that the illiteracy rate among males in the Arab world is 14.6 percent and 25.9 percent among females.
Also, from 2011 to this year, losses in Arab GDP reached $300 billion. And of course, as expected, a trillion dollars was the cost of corruption in the Arab region. Unfortunately, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, six Arab countries are among the most corrupt nations in the world.
Some of what was said at the summit reviews the painful fact of the world today. Harrison Ford, US actor and environmentalist, said in a speech that climate change is the most urgent and dangerous ethical crisis for humanity in the 21st century. The World Government Summit focused on the development of human life based on the summit’s aim to support governments’ efforts to create a better future for seven billion people.
As I was thinking about my country Kuwait, I find there is a failure in the achievement of advanced regional and global positions in development, despite the availability of material, technical and human and financial resources. I believe the weak efficiency of the economic system, faltering decisions regarding public expenditure and the role of the private sector that is still dependent on government support result in no real initiatives or partnerships to support development of the country. Unless these obstacles are addressed, nothing will change.
I believe that the important thing that affects development in Kuwait is ignoring support to youth who will lead the future of the country, whether we like it or not. They must be given real support in leadership positions and supervision in the public and private sectors. Human development is based on the transmission of positive energy to individuals.
The summit in Dubai ended with recommendations that need to be addressed. I recall here words of the former president of Finland in an article that was published in 1992 on the secrets of his country’s success in achieving development and progress and the transformation from a poor country in the fifties of the last century to a major industrial state in the eighties. He referred to three elements for the success of his country – high level of education, commitment to democracy in approach and behavior and the use of modern technologies in work and production.
I wonder how many tools we have today to achieve future progress.
By Muna Al-Fuzai