The creation of new opportunities for youth is an increasingly urgent imperative, with an estimated 10% of working hours in the region wiped out in 2020 due to COVID-19, equivalent of 24 million full-time jobs being lost. The Global Risks Perception Survey published last week by the World Economic Forum clearly highlights youth disillusionment and erosion of social cohesion as critical short-term threats to the world.
Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Managing Director of the Crescent Group, has emphasized the critical role that business must play in this transition, and its responsibility to generate the urgently needed opportunities for youth towards a more sustainable and inclusive future for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Speaking in keynote session titled “Implementing Stakeholder Capitalism in MENA” at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos Agenda 2021, Jafar said: “ “A single-minded focus on job creation prevents us from seeing the true challenge and opportunity that lies ahead, and that is instilling a strong sense of purpose, and a feeling of belonging within our youth. Therefore, we urgently need to deploy all the tools at our disposal to strengthen the fabric of our local communities, including through community service and volunteerism”
Despite transformative technologies and economic and reforms that offer unprecedented opportunities for progress in MENA, the World Bank has estimated an annual financing gap of over $100 billion to realize the sustainable development potential of the region.
“Every sector has an important role to play in this endeavor, and we will fail if any one of us chooses not to take action. Governments, businesses, the academic sector, and even media, can all do more together than any one of us can do on our own. And we must not make the mistake of forgetting young people in this partnership model – we need to ensure feedback loops with the ultimate beneficiaries, our youth, are in place from the beginning, so the solutions that we are working towards are actually relevant to our societies,” Jafar added.
During the virtual Davos Agenda 2021, attended by more than 1,500 business, government and civil society leaders from over 70 countries, Badr Jafar announced Crescent Enterprises’ commitment to adopting and implementing the WEF’s Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, championed by the World Economic Forum and developed within the International Business Council.