Tony Elumelu speaking at the Peace and Prosperity Workshop in Bahrain

ladies and gentlemen please welcome to the stage director of the Milken Institute Richard Sandler and his panelists His Excellency mohammed el sheikh madame christine lagarde Willem Buiter Antonia luma Lu [Applause] good morning morning again I want to thank His Majesty King Ahmed and Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain together with Treasury secretary minuchin and special advisor to the President of States Jared Kushner and thank them again for organizing and hosting this very very important piece to prosperity workshop over the weekend as we all know the United States unveiled the piece of prosperity the economic plan a new vision for the Palestinian people I personally found the plan to be quite comprehensive in defining the many issues setting measurable goals and outlining the steps that need to be taken to create a vibrant and a prosperous West Bank Gaza and surrounding region you could certainly see the time the effort the knowledge and the thought the Jared Kushner Jason Greenblatt and their teams put into this plan as was discussed somewhat last evening the vision for such a vibrant and a prosperous sustainable peace in the West Bank in Gaza has been blurred by the absence of a continuous sustainable peace yet at the same time it's very hard to imagine a steadfast peace without the economic prosperity and opportunities where basic services are delivered and the people of the region feel included feel respected and have hope for a meaningful future that is clearly what the plan is seeking to achieve this workshop has brought us together business leaders investors bankers finance ears economists and governmental officials to explore ways to implement this economic plan and make it a reality the plan is divided into three initiatives or pillars in the and in this workshop we are looking at those same three for the next approximately 45 minutes we'll be discussing the first pillar unleashing the economic potential of this region with our very knowledgeable and quite experienced panelists Madame christine lagarde the managing director of the International Monetary Fund His Excellency mohamed el sheikh minister state member of council of ministers and member of council of economic and development affairs the kingdom of saudi arabia vilem do ter special economic adviser to citigroup and tony el de melo chairman harris foundation harris holding united bank for africa and the founder of the tony of ammulu foundation so let us begin let me start with you Madame Lagarde what are some of the macroeconomic management experiences and policy recommendations that you feel could be applied to West Bank and Gaza well let me just start maybe with a few a few numbers about West Bank and Gaza because I think it puts in perspective what we have learned and seen in other countries and preface that maybe with the fact that no country is going to be the same and no territories are going to be the same so comparisons are odious yet we have to learn from them so a few numbers concerning our West Bank and Gaza a lot of numbers that should be high or low and a lot of number that should be lower high that's the situation we have at the moment so growth is contracting our forecast for 2019 years – 1.6 the fiscal deficit is high around 8 percent current account deficit is high 10 percent what is high and hopefully would below is unemployment where we have 30 percent unemployment in the West Bank and about 50 percent unemployment in Gaza and the background of that which i think is critical for what the plan is pursuing is the working population you have a very very quickly growing population about 5 millions at the moment between the two territories probably going to double from 5 to 10 millions in 2050 that's the estimate and in 2030 60% of the population will be working age which is great and bad great if the jobs are there difficult if there is no employment no occupation for those young people coming to the market and I think that gives the context of the the ambition that we should collectively have for the economic development now what we've learned from other similar but not really comparable situations is twofold one is I think we have a little bit of background on that of the 40-ish fragile or conflict-affected countries or territories that we look after we have programs in half of them and we are seeing some good results in some places and very little result in other places let me give you a couple of examples where we have seen good outcome good results as as Jared would say our countries like Rwanda post-conflict very difficult landlocked no commodities no resources to speak of really other than people and energy and goodwill and the determination to fight corruption we have seen really exceptional results there another example Mozambique which at the time was didn't had not identified all resources as it did later on again conflict partly at least resolved stability with restored and again we've seen a good economic outcome there are other places which are not as successful if you look at the RDC for instance which I'm sure you familiar with or if we look at RCA where conflicts are still rampant violence subsides despite the efforts despite some goodwill we have not seen seen good results so that really raises the question of what is needed in terms of macroeconomic background and and how how can it succeed not to speak of the political situation and the imperative of satisfactory peace in order to prosper what we see is a very very pressing need for capacity development and where there has been from a macro standpoint good capacity development in the field of public finance management in the area of central bank strength and in the field of domestic revenue mobilization if those three aspects are well managed and and well supported then it gives the background for private sector to actually have a predictable environment within which to operate now the add-on which is critically important is the fight against corruption and we have seen countries where with those three macro critical components if anti-corruption is really one of the imperative of the authorities as it was in a Honda for instance then things really can take off and you know it's not as if the the Western Bank and Gaza had not done it in the past it can happen and it did happen 2004 to 2014 we saw an average growth of nine percent so it's matter of putting all the ingredients together so we have challenges and we have opportunities yeah and it's a question of how we use what we know and how the people react it sounds like so mister I'll shake as someone very familiar with the region yourself what have you learned from your activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that may be applicable may even be a case study to the effort to unleash the economic potential and maybe take advantage of some of the things that have been done in the past that Madame Lagarde it's me referring to oh that's interesting what have I learned from what we have been doing and what we continue to do i that proper planning is probably essential I mean we spent a significant time on planning what we are undergoing today in the kingdom by looking at our strengths looking at our weaknesses looking at what we need to do to diversify the economy and to really transform the economy and and and and and carry out the structural changes that we are trying to carry out in the kingdom to be less dependent and less reliant on oil revenues as as a government it requires a real commitment it requires hard work and it requires buy-in from everybody to be part of this process and if you look at the demographics in the region the kingdom is is part of the region and the demographics are pretty close in in in in in in the rest of the region it's a very young population and the young population used the world differently than the relatively older population because today with modern technology you know the younger population is connected to their apps on their on their phones and they live off of these phones so the way you even do business and you conduct business is different I think that mistakes will be made but you just have to be persistent you have to stay the course and you have to continue on on the path that you are working on and we spent a number of years planning for what we are doing in the kingdom we looked at some of the very strong sectors that were untapped before tourism metals and mining and various other sectors in the kingdom and now we're focusing on those sectors small and medium enterprises is front and center in our vision 2030 and what we're trying to do so there's a lot that can be learned from what we have done and others are actually trying to do to basically work on what they're trying to do and I think this is no different than any other country in the region just given the similar demographics and the background and with this plan trying to connect the countries in the region and not focusing on one small area I think is very important because there is greater opportunity and potential if all the countries that are part of the plan are connected economically thank you so mr. l-amino you heard mr. al-sheikh talk about their focus on small and medium-sized businesses is it essential and I think you believe it is to support small and medium sized enterprises and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to strengthen the Palestinian economy what can the private sector do and what should we be focusing on so I I come from Africa and we do have a lot of similarities with Palestinian people especially in the area of the demographic pressure of youth youth joblessness and the point is big corporations and governments can create the kind of jobs that we need in Gaza and the West Bank we need to encourage and empower young Palestinian people so that they have the economic or economic opportunities people who have economic open opportunities don't take to extremism they want to live they want to enjoy life it is lack of hope and economic opportunities that pushes people into assume is among other vices our experience in Africa now what a group workers tried to do for a couple of years now is having seen experienced poverty on the continent I say to people born bred in Africa I have come to realize and my own life story I've come to realize the importance of entrepreneurship importance of smaller scale enterprises otherwise how would I be where I am today if my mom didn't have the opportunity to do their own small and medium enterprises businesses to turn go to school and the question is the young Palestinian people do they have similar opportunities what should we all do to assist in making sure that we them economical and opportunities and that's why I welcome this kind of cadre at the Tony Almeida foundation which family created in 2010 to help democratize lock to help give Economic Opportunity to people who have ideas but don't have capital to help train mentor people so that when they get up to they even know how to manage capital we come to hundred million dollars and I experiences is across Africa every year we support 1,000 Africans we give them more affordable seed catalog one $5,000 each to date we've done five years who've supported about 7,000 to or 520 we have seen firsthand had this is transforming lives I did transforming communities so I have become even more and a posture of supporting the small and medium scale enterprises but more importantly supporting those young people who do not have any I'm along with a small amigas gather disabled who have been able to prove the ideas but a lot where great ideas are micro to decrease with those ideas alone are the opposite of put their concept so we need to do this in Palestine we need to do this in stop to support the Palestinian people because if we do that it has a lot of benefits it has a signaling effect it tells you you see somewhere your neighbor who has embraced this new path and see him his communities families oxidant you would think otherwise and the point is we need an ecosystem for this to work we need the private sector not just in the region but across the Middle East what we are denied to nearly finish an orphanage a locomotive on entire bus across the field for African countries poverty anyways a threat also everywhere so we need to work together to measure where Attica poverty is it possible to eradicate poverty yes zip was is it difficult extremely difficult for the journey has the start government must also play their own Road common must make sure the governance infrastructure the corruption fight against corruption creating the enabling environment so that when these young personnel get opportunities they can it can succeed it approaches environment estudios they won't succeed and of course the international development agencies to assist you know the world we live in to the world need to come together or written in a certain report that the World Bank Group and allied institutions have spent about 19 billion US dollars in trying to drive innovation and entrepreneurship from experience I determine the Phoenicians or do not cross it for Afghan countries we can split a lot more impact with fraction of them one and the difference is that we work with local partners we live in Africa we understand issues there when you stay outside of say the functional area I prescribe ideas their work and design programs it might not work on ground so my advice as we plan a CTA to talk about this intervention is that we should not do it in isolation we should involve people from within so they're collectively watching this but in a nutshell smaller scale enterprises is it with in my viewpoint to go most important so that they can create job and address the joblessness situation so mr. Bartell heard about some of the numbers in the area areas words worked or not worked we've talked about the importance of planning and sticking to a plan dealing with young people giving them hope you're a macroeconomists you studied the world from different perspectives how would you go about unleashing the economic potential of this particular region of course a necessary condition for any material progress is as we said many times but was repeating peace safety security including the easy no cross-border movement of goods services people and capital but the second key and that is really a domestically generated condition is high-quality governance including rule of law market friendly institutions and Trust and here there's a lot of work that remains to be done the World Bank has it's doing business survey but it asked business relevant questions SME relevant question says her harder to start a business dealing with construction permits getting electricity registering property enforcing contracts resolving insolvency well the best thinking Gaza are listed in that Ease of Doing Business Survey and they ranked 116 one on six out of 191 a year so that means a lot remains to be done but also means this is the good news that there's a lot of low-hanging fruit there if there is the collective will among the Palestinian people to create institutions of well functioning government enormous potential can be unleashed and once these three conditions are met when the investment needs are but daunting almost in size infrastructure power renewable energy especially then fortunately the Sun is on the side of the Palestinian people here water clean and reliable transportation land road and rail sea air it's clear that the investment needs if you add the private investment on top of the infrastructure investment really exceeds any conceivable domestic saving potential so that means that we need external funding this is what this is all about now it's important to note here let's make the external funding either grants or equity based but let's go easy on the debt we saw yesterday in mr. Cruz's presentation that the indebtedness of the West Bank and Gaza was relatively low let's keep it that way but and we should not I think burden this country trying to escape from a grim past with is a high burden of of death human capital investment again invest in people education training health that's all there now this requires labor intensive industries that make use of the natural assets of drehs Bank in Ghana this very large young population which is pretty well educated the location in huge assets the crossroads of three continents and important asset history not the past 72 years but there's thousands of years before that so I think that it still be possible to officially track the FDI on a large scale by having an attractive fiscal and legacy regime if it be possible provided these institutional preconditions are met to attack private equity and other providers of risk capital and finally of both it's essential to encourage entrepreneurship if you create the right business and the investment climate business really merged in industries and sectors they haven't even thought of this is the wonderful thing about innovation it does not require a central planner is an all-encompassing blueprint but it requires the creation of the right business climate that encourages this taking it innovation return and I'm sure that this first banking guys I can do this and that they will do it provided they given the opportunity so it sounds like you feel the plan is hitting on all the righty issues absolutely right points so please do you mind if I had something to what dilemma said I completely echo with you what you just said I think it's one of the really good aspects of the plan prepared by mr. Kushner and and presented yesterday is that it identifies some of the sector some of the industrial and economic sectors that will be conducive to jobs and I think that you know growth can be generated but it cannot be any kind of growth in in West Bank and Gaza it has to be job intensive when you have 60 percent of the working population you need to focus on what is going to be job intensive and vilem you rightly said agriculture tourism is also identified as such construction any infrastructure is going to absorb a lot of labor so those those sectors if they are the priorities are going to respond to the job supply that is that is that is out there and that's critically important one maybe minor point and I'm not it's not a disagreement we always talk about the high level of education the the intelligence the I think it was Mohamed yesterday who was saying that they are they are the most intelligent in the region but I think in terms of investment in education what would also be required is the appropriate it's education focus on what will develop into jobs because there's a great mismatch of skills between the high level of education and the jobs that are going to be hopefully created so on those two points I equal hundred-percent what you said No so we've heard a lot about the challenges of the area and things that can or cannot be done can this be done can this be done well let me let me let me start by saying this was actually done before if you go back 25 years ago post Oslo where there was a very similar effort and mr. Kirschner I'm sure you and you team have looked at what took place back then if you look at the wall construction of essential infrastructure improving public sector operations institution building health education attracting foreign investment Madame Lagarde was talking actually about education specific education it was actually done back in the mid 90s between 95 to about 2000 there was a global coordinated effort back then led by the United States where all the donor community came together and they established working groups they established committees if anybody is familiar with the ad-hoc liaison committee and if you saw the chart that mr. Kushner put on on the screen last night that had a fund on top it was a very similar structure the only difference today actually that I see from the structure that was back then was the inclusion of the private sector up front back then it was predominantly international organizations and governments hoping that they could actually transform the West Bank in Gaza and then attract warn in this if you look at the numbers back then GDP was at a peak and and and hit record highs during that period unfortunately when things slow down and stop it collapsed if you look at the unemployment rates it was significantly lower during that period than the periods that followed primary school enrollment was at record highs I think it was over 95 percent during that period you know thousands of kilometres of roads when you talk about infrastructure and specific job generating projects it's exactly what the world was looking at back then and they were constructing thousands of kilometres of roads thousands of classrooms hundreds of clinics everything that we're talking about today took place 25 years ago and you mentioned that peace is essential there was no peace back then but there was the true genuine hope that there was going to be peace at the end of this process especially by the Palestinians and while I accept that peace is essential back then it was just the hope of peace that got them actually excited and moving and and and and and and and I was actually fortunate back then to be working on some of these projects because in the former life I used to be with the World Bank and this was part of what I was doing so I witnessed firsthand what can be done and what cannot be done and how it can be done and if we manage to do it 25 years ago with significantly less money I'm pretty sure that it can be done today with the amounts of money and with the private sector participation if we can achieve that hope of peace for everybody to start working together to achieve what we're trying to achieve so Italy my Tony our peace and stability critical to attracting private investment today the hope of peace and real peace as an investor we invest in 23 countries across Africa and also in some oacd countries peace and security is quite important for investment totally important I also agree with your excellency that hope is as important as what you experienced today so people feel that there be peace a security is important but we do need to emphasize India for peace as I got in making investment having said that is not the only thing that drives investment all the points I've been said getting the market and policies right ask is very very important fighting corruption important dealing with your infrastructure important when I invest in our group we look for where the economy haces economy's system walks we'd like to go to where this rule of law would like to invest in places where you can put your money in and when you make your investment return we can take money out I want to invest in places where infrastructure is fairly relaxed I do say to my colleague that absence of inference even initial and investing opportunities who can't go in and invest we do that we invest was significant it generate of electricity in Africa or something that tells a lot to me when I want to make invest when a group is the private sector and I environment I did doing well do you have small a musical endeavor that I do and that to me is a key point I would like to keep coming back to we need and you know you did talk about the intervention upward last 25 years so the question was gonna add why did you walk wise in this sustainable we don't want to have a quick fix here I want to fix something that permanent a fundamental and that will be anchored by an only small American Enterprise in this busy making sure we have inclusive growth that brings all to the table women to the table jung-hwan soda table and then increase hope and unusually because more security and we need to ensure us who talked about it was Bank and Gaza that is a lot of attention on not just creating job directly but making sure that people I am part to actually create jobs on their own and also they will break that dependency syndrome we don't want to stay here ten come back here ten years again to talk about this I want to impart this reform to be able to take out as I let it rise in demand a grandfather so I see peace has been very important secret important for their actions that we can do to make that a constant and such I shown in my viewpoint we start from making sure that the young ones is first Christmas sixty fifty percent of five minute walk under certain age remote do something about this if not we're going to come back yeah some yes I think I would already do so again I want to commend the US government for this opportunity but we shouldn't be doing this one time to time with let's fix it was a furrow so so and I believe the time is now what if they don't want to come back to do that we are coming towards the end I actually every time I look at the clock I think they skipped three minutes but I want to give everyone of you an opportunity to leave our audience with the one thought that you might have if you wanted us to leave here with one thought about unleashing the economic potential of the West Bank Gaza and the surrounding region what would it be so I will start with you mr. bicha well it would be to focus on the strength of this the five million people rich region which is its young people and to focus on the unleashing that potential energy by domestically generated improvements in the investment climate peace and security are two large extend beyond the control of the people itself but on the investment climate they are the ones that can and I think we'll deliver I'm hopeful there Thank You mr. I'll shake what thought would you like to leave us with hi I think I said it earlier I I truly believe it can be done if people do believe that it can be done and the way to make the people on the ground to leave is give them hope that this will be sustainable and this will be everlasting and that ultimately there will be prosperity there will be sustainable development which will achieve the prosperity that they want to achieve Thank You mr. Alameda I think I'd like to see a collaboration the Palestinian people friends of Palestine neighbors of Palestine led by the private sector in this region to work together to economically empower this young Palestinian the truth is what I love about two to three million people yeah the the younger generation is not too difficult a task for to touch significant number out of this if we prioritize them if we all support them and Italian villa Foundation and we're ready to team join hands with willing Middle Easterners amplifon dispose of the wall to do something about the future is young if we give them economic hope it will signal a new beginning we read about this fifty billion dollar 25 below infrastructure and the other 25 non-government I would like a percentage of that to go in to supporting the young Palestinians even in $5,000 what we do as I said for would train 8,000 people would get a first analyze each to prove their ideas and they take off from there and they do well they can go to backs we need to have an affirmative plan something that touches everyone not read it in the papers about big infrastructure projects let them also feel it that is the strongest message of 4050 okay Madame Lagarde well we have an economic plan I think that there is urgency no economy can survive losing 15 percent of its GDP which is what is going to happen under the current circumstances so if there is a an economic plan if there is urgency it's a question of making sure that the momentum is is sustained and for that it will require all the goodwill in the world on the part of all parties private sector public sector international organisations and the parties on the ground and their neighbors as you rightly said if there is a secret weapon in addition to the young people I would say the woman you look at the female labor participation in West Bank and Gaza 20 percent compared with 70 percent male labor force participation I'm not suggesting that is going to be the magic trick but it certainly should be leveraged or thank you I got to maybe a third of the questions that I had for this panel but it was very illuminating I hope that all of us here as we think about the advice and the ideas that have been exchanged and will continue to be exchanged throughout this workshop that we keep in mind I think what all of us want we want peace dignity prosperity and opportunity for all of the people of the region a more vibrant and a prom or prosperous Middle East we may have different ideas on the best way to achieve this but I have to believe we all want them to be achieved as I proceeded through the economic plan and listening last night to Jared Kushner and to Mohammed Olivar I'm hearing about his optimism I recalled a teaching from a dear dear friend of mine a blessed memory back in Los Angeles a man named Harold Shore Weiss he used to talk about is an aunt he would say focus from the is to the art and your mindset will be affected is phases me toward the present ought turns me to the future ought challenges my creative imagination opens me to the realm of possibilities and to responsibilities to realize yesterday's dream ought and is our complementary without it is the genius of our past and the present collective wisdom is forgotten without an art the great visions of tomorrow fade thought demands not only a knowledge of history but of exciting expectation is is being art is becoming the peace to prosperity economic plan is a plan for moving what is to what ought to be now we will have to see if there is the will and the bold leadership to get us there for me it has been a privilege to participate here with you this morning and to join all of you in attending this workshop please join me in thanking Managing Director Christine Lagarde chairman Tony Elam you Lou economist and professor Villa Butera and His Excellency Mohammed all shake for a very interesting and for me educational discussion thank you all

9 thoughts on “Tony Elumelu speaking at the Peace and Prosperity Workshop in Bahrain

  • The 'sudden destruction' when Iran bombs the Middle East, when they are declaring "peace and security" is also the 'tribulation' with Christ's arrival, found in Matthew 24: 29, 30. In case you find this hard to believe, because you have heard differently, Christ arrives with 'signs in the sun, moon and stars', which will make the matter plain to anybody. That is why people in grief can see Christ manifest in heaven. Matthew 24: 30. There are MULTIPLE CONSEQUENCES TO THIS EVENT.
    One is found in Revelation 18: 17, and Ezekiel 7: 19 and is a one- hour event that MELTS DOWN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM. This begins with the loss of the Euro, and a banking systems freeze-up, and then spreads worldwide. This is a time of wars and wrath Jeremiah 25: 24-26 Revelation 11: 18.
    So money is DESTROYED by this one- hour event.
    Talk about consequences.

  • Defining the issues.
    Setting measurable goals.
    Outlining the steps to be taken to achieve the goals [a vibrant and prosperous West Bank, Gaza, and the surrounding (specifically defined) region].

    Steadfast peace is impossible without economic prosperity and opportunities where basic services are delivered and the people feel included, respected, and have hope for a meaningful future. The plan seeks to achieve these goals.

    Numbers are key (important). 30%, 50% unemployment in West Bank, Gaza.
    Situations are peculiar for each region and case.

    A quickly growing working population of 5m at present, expected to double in the year 2050. 60% of the population will be working age in the year 2030 and it will be tragic if there are no jobs.

    There is a need for Capacity Development.
    If corruption is tackled, the hope will be brighter.

    Globally, technology is proving to be the easiest way to connect with young people.

    Entrepreneurship is absolutely important. Big corporations and government cannot solve the problem of youth unemployment. Lack of hope and lack of economic opportunities push young people into extremism. When young people are empowered they would rather choose to live.

    TEF was established to democratize luck and support young people who have ideas but lack funding. TEF supports, train, and mentor people who have great ideas but have no opportunity to prove their concepts.

    The environment must be ambient and conducive.

    Efforts are more effective and results are better guaranteed when plans are implemented with realistic local data and local partners.

  • Thank you Dr. for this revolution of which you are founder through which Africa is revealed little by little to the whole world.

    We are the real El Dorado
    #AFRICAPITALISM #TefConnect2019

  • The PALESTINIANS NEED A NEW LEADER AND SPEAKER FOR THEM. The guy leading them now is WORTHLESS. He should be over there, at the Peace to Prosperity workshop. He doesn't want peace. He wants problems. He's NOT EVEN TRYING. The Palestinians need to go over there for this workshop, if their leader isn't going too. This is ALL FOR THEM, and they aren't even there. What a joke!

  • It would be nice to know if we invest that the projects have water and roads open for materials and that the projects don't get bombed about the time they are completed. Only one side has airplanes. Still the success of the program comes down to establishing borders. Money is not the problem. There is literally trillions available around the world once we know the borders and some sort of promise that projects won't be bombed or raided. I would suggest a international security force put on the ground to enforce the peace until the new business get up and running and the infrastructure is built and in place.

  • Africa is proud of you Sir. We, 2019 TEF 2019 Cohorts are exceptionally proud of you. God bless you

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