2020 Programme

The overarching theme of ABES2020 will be working together to find the best solutions and develop new opportunities in the key areas of tourism, education, trade and investment, high tech industries and combating the climate change challenge.

The realities of climate change are at the forefront of global political and business agendas. There is an urgent need to reconcile strategies for economic growth and development with the need for sustainability. Water security poses a key challenge for the Arab World. Developing strategies to meet the needs of people and industry in the region for fresh water offers great opportunities for cooperation with the UK. New initiatives, such as green finance and green cities, are paving the way to help countries mitigate climate change and adapt to a carbon-neutral world. The growth of renewables – such as local solar industries and wind farms – in the Arab World are important areas where collaborative activities with UK expertise can make a significant difference. Bilateral cooperation in these areas can open up new opportunities for the transformation of energy production and consumption.

New markets demand new skills. Technological innovation provides an opportunity for the Arab World to nurture, upgrade and – above all – future-proof its human assets. This is vital to guarantee a competitive labour market and a resilient economy. New technology can assist in the delivery of the education skills that the modern economy requires. Learning online should be seen as a vital resource and tool for efficient communication and the spreading of new information and ideas. A closer partnership between the educational profession and private industry can assist in closing the gap between the expectations of industry and student achievements.

Throughout the Arab World, tourism and travel is an increasingly important component of national strategies for economic development and growth. New trends are redefining tourism by opening up new markets and opportunities for international business and leisure-seekers to exploit, such as eco-tourism, health-tourism and digital tourism. Growing global demand is facilitating the creation of new linkages by air and sea. New technologies are transforming the management, organization and distribution of tourism and travel services to improve customer service and better meet tourist demands. Challenges remain in reconciling development of tourism and travel with issues of sustainability and resource scarcity.

In the context of a world of increasingly hyper-globalized markets, there is a need to explore how the Arab World can remain globally competitive. The need for an open, fair and rules-based trading system founded on good governance, transparency, regulation and efficient enforcement becomes ever more important in an increasingly integrated world economy. A series of ambitious mega projects around the Arab World focuses attention on the transformative changes taking place in infrastructure and economic diversification. Privatization is becoming a central feature of the policy agenda in the pursuit of improved productivity and efficiency of public industries and services.

The growth of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, connected supply chains, sensor and nano-technologies and automation, requires companies to become better equipped to recognize opportunities so that they can respond rapidly to the quick pace of changing consumer demand, supplier conditions and technology innovation. Increased use of industrial digital technologies and techniques in manufacturing processes and supply chains has the capacity to boost productivity and strengthen Arab-British collaboration. Britain has the potential to become a strategic partner with the Arab World as the tech revolution becomes the new global reality reshaping all realms of society.