U.S. News

WEF: The Rise and Rise of the Middle East


During the three-day conference, participants of the meeting, including key Middle Eastern political leaders and business leaders, discussed the challenges the region faces, such as inflation from rising food and energy prices, political unrest and sustainability.

CNBC Europe's Louisa Bojesen was at the meeting and spoke to some prominent Middle Eastern figures.

Exporter of Capital

"The Middle East is one of the largest exporters of capital in the world, due to high oil prices.

We see influx of people looking to invest their money in the Middle East," Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minster of Pakistan, said at the World Economic Forum.

>> Video: Attractiveness of the Middle East


"Of course, with the Middle East you have to talk about stability, about peace, about the peace process," Ahmed Mahmoud Nazis, Egyptian Prime Minister, told CNBC. "If you don't have peace, you can't have stability and you can't have the growth that everybody in this area would like to see."

>> Video: Facing Middle Eastern Challenges

Sheltered from the Credit Crunch

"We are relatively sheltered," Hisham El Khazindar, MD and co-founder of Egyptian private equity group, Citadel Capital said of the impact the credit crunch has had on private equity in the Middle East.

"This is a region where you do still have liquidity. For the right transactions, for the right opportunity, acquisition finance is there."

>> Video: Private Equity Environment in the Middle East

Organic Challenge

"It's our biggest challenge to contribute to the social and environmental development and (still) be profitable," said Helmy Abouleish, vice-chairman and MD of Sekem Group, a company that endeavors in sustainable community development projects, and deals in organic agriculture farming in Egypt.

The next World Economic Forum annual meeting on the Middle East is to be held in Jordan in 2009.

>> Video: Sekem CEO on Organic Farming in Egypt