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Case for Change

The resilience of nations lies not only in the physical infrastructures that enable their development but also in their 'soft' infrastructure - their human capital or more appropriately, their intellectual assets. It is the intellectual assets that breathes and gives life to the physical make-up and ensures sustainable development and prosperity.

The 2009 Arab Human Capital Challenges Report has revealed that "Exceptional economic growth in the Arab region over the past decade has not coincided with equally buoyant labor and human resource development, raising obvious concerns for sustainable and balanced growth".

The Survey Results Reveal that:
38% of Arab CEOs believe that there is an ample supply of qualified national labor, which therefore translates to a heavy reliance on the recruitment of expatriates.
90% of Gulf CEOs value their expatriate senior management whereas only
68% shared similar views towards their national senior management. The difficulty associated with recruiting national senior management over middle management is largely a result of the limited availability of experienced national professionals.

Hence, this is the case for change, in part because:
  • historically the older generation in the Gulf region has had lower labor force participation rates.
  • lower levels of education as well as the fact that the older age cohort is less accustomed to working in a modern day competitive environment.
  • to add to this dilemma, the Arab world also has one of the lowest labor productivity growth rates.
  • this is a serious concern for many in the business community, especially as the region moves towards greater participation in the global economy.
  • The failure of the education system to build adequate professional and scientific capabilities.
  • Weak social service systems, marred by the absence of appropriate leadership, inefficient administration, unwillingness to empower target groups, inadequate auditing and financial procedures, a thin base of financial and human resources, and a general lack of expertise, skills and commitment among working staff.
  • Insufficient funds to replicate successful projects on a wider scale.
Multidimensional policies for addressing economic insecurity in the Arab world would simultaneously aim to increase access to educational, training and awareness raising programmes.
By Arab Human Development Report 2009, United Nations Development Programme.

Freedoms like these can only flourish in the Arab region when they are linked to leaderships open to the outside world and intent on reform through investment in human capital and knowledge industries that rely on Arab human and physical potentials.

This strategy requires that government, the private sector, and civil society organizations participate in the formulation of policies and practical programmes. It also requires the existence of a wise and serious leadership at all levels able to implement these policies and present new initiatives.

By Arab Knowledge Report 2009 United Nations Development Programme
Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.
The Aims of Education for All, World Education Forum
Core challenges in Executive Development
The immense leadership deficit that our region suffers from (the demand side) is coupled with major limitation of our local training and education institutions in offering the needed development support required to upgrade the leadership and management capabilities of our senior executives (the supply side). Below is a brief description of the major limitations at the supply side:
Low Quality Business Schools
Our region suffers from low quality business schools at all levels; undergraduate, graduate and Executive Education. The latest ranking of the world top 100 business school and top 65 executive education programs by FT.Com, indicates that none of them is located in a Muslim or an Arab country/ third world nations.


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