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MENA-OECD MEETING TO BE HELD IN EGYPT

Alarab - October 5, 2007 The second MENA-OECD Investment Ministerial Meeting titled Making Reforms Succeed: Moving Forward with the Investment Policy Agenda will be held on 28 November 2007 in Cairo, Egypt. This regional event will be held under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Egypt, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Nazif and will be chaired by H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Minister of Investment of Egypt. The Ministerial Meeting will gather high level delegations from the countries participating in the Programme to identify elements crucial to fostering investment climate and adopt new tools for implementation of investment policy reform. Ministers will take stock of achievements in investment climate reforms and regional co-operation, discuss remaining challenges and provide orientations for the way forward. The meeting will equally attract private sector representatives from all over the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, who will be engaging in targeted discussions on topics which the Programme has been working on throughout 2006, including investment, corporate governance, taxation environment, and financial sector development, among others. Government representatives and private sector participants will be invited to participate in the Business Forum preceding the Ministerial Meeting on the 27th November, during which a matchmaking event for companies from all over the region and OECD countries will be organised in cooperation with the United National Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). A part of the Business Forum will be dedicated to the topic of strengthening the role of women business in the MENA region. The Women Business Leaders Forum, organised in cooperation with the Egyptian Businesswomen Association, will aim to gather representatives of women's business associations from across the region and will present a Declaration on Women's Participation in MENA Economies. The meeting will bring together Ministers of Economy, Finance, Planning or Industry from 18 Middle East and North Africa countries with their counterparts from OECD countries. Heads of international and regional organisations will attend and there will be significant private sector participation. Participants will take stock of the achievements of the programme and provide orientations on how to meet the challenges of the future. The meeting will be opened by the Prime Minister of Egypt, the Minister for Investment H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, a Minister representing the UK co-chair of the Programme and Mr.Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the OECD. The debates will be structured in four panels adressing key issues for the investment environment, i.e. tax policy, investment policy, corporate governance and finance. The Meeting will conclude with a MENA Ministerial Declaration on principles and actions for implementation of investment policy reforms. Panel 1 moderated by H.E. Dr. Youssef Boutros-Ghali Minister of Finance for Egypt will discuss the contribution of tax policy to the investment environment and provides further impetus to regional cooperation. A Declaration on tax policy supportive to investment and a new training mechanism through the Cairo Centre as well as other steps towards capacity building will be presented. Panel 2 moderated by Minister Mohieldin will review the progress of investment policy reforms in the region and discuss additional steps. A proposal for a Business Climate Development Strategies jointly presented by the World Bank and OECD to enhance and evaluate the reform process will be discussed. Panel 3 moderated by Dr. Nasser Saidi, Director of the Hawkamah Centre will present latest achievement in corporate governance through regional cooperation in particular recommendations on corporate governance of banks, report on new initiatives and discuss proposals to enhance business integrity and responsible business conduct Panel 4 moderated by Saudi Arabia will discuss proposals to bridge the gap in enterprise finance in MENA countries, to channel regional funds into productive investment opportunities and to enhance the functioning of capital markets. The panel discussions will be interactive and include private sector input. All Ministers present will have the opportunity to make statements in a panel of their choice. The first part of the Business day will be a Women Business Leaders Forum organised under the patronage of H.E. Mrs. Susanne Mubarak, first lady of Egypt with the participation of H.E. Mrs. Emma Bonino, Minister of Trade for Italy and H.H. Sheikha Lubna, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates. The event is organised in cooperation with Women Business Associations from Egypt, Arab and African countries and will highlight key issues for enhancing women participation in the economy. Its objectives will be to establish a dialogue and an action plan among regional bodies for improving the economic role of women as a mechanism of reducing unemployment and increasing economic performance. A Declaration will be adopted for presentation to Ministers. A Panel on FDI and domestic investment-linkages for economic growth and sustainable development will bring together senior business representatives from MENA and OECD countries to mobilise private sector input to the process of reform and modernisation. It will adress issues on how to effectively communicate the achievement and benefits of reform to stakeholders and the population. The Forum will end with the launching of a new flagship publication MENA 500 providing the profiles of signification companies in MENA countries. A business statement will be adopted for presentation to Ministers. During the business day match-making opportunities will be organised by UNIDO to bring together companies from the region and outside, to identify business opportunities and facilitate private sector linkages. Based on current preparations, the number of attendees of the Business Day and the Ministerial may exceed 500 participants which will provide an excellent facility for networking and interaction. INVESTMENT PROGRAMME was established in 2004 at the request of Middle East and North African (MENA) countries to provide advice on improving the investment policy climate. Facing considerable competition from other regions and a growing pressure from the young workforce, several MENA countries are implementing significant economic and regulatory reforms to increase private sector participation in their economies. THE KEY OBJECTIVE OF THE INVESTMENT PROGRAMME is to mobilise private investment – foreign, regional and domestic – as a driving force for economic growth and employment throughout the region. The Programme offers a forum for results-oriented policy dialogue bringing together MENA and OECD practitioners. It supports reform efforts of MENA governments to enhance the investment climate by: * strengthening country capacity for designing, implementing and monitoring investment policy reforms; * creating a network of dialogue between investment policy makers from MENA and OECD countries; * creating a favorable environment for employment creation through investment climate improvements; * assisting ministries and government agencies to co-operate and co-ordinate their work; * reinforcing the impact of development initiatives supported by international, regional and bilateral donors.





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