Barack Obama Keynote: UAE and US can learn from each other

President Barack Obama (REUTERS)

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, led the delegation of UAE government leaders to witness the keynote speech of US President Barack Obama, who is addressing delegates at the World Government Summit.

The hall was full 20 minutes before the beginning of Obama's speech, and by the time it started, all possible standing space on the sides and the back of the hall were taken too.

Obama began his recorded speech by commending HH Sheikh Mohammed and the UAE for the initiative of the World Government Summit. He said that the UAE and the US can learn from each other's experience.

"When government listens to its people, that is how we move forward," Obama said. "Our countries can learn from each other," he added.

"Embracing reform will continue to have a partner and friend in the US," he reassured the delegates.  

Obama said that the US was proud to participate in the World Government Summit in the UAE as a guest nation.

“As more children get education, the country's economic growth is a forgone conclusion,” he said, noting the advances that the UAE is making in the field of providing education. 

Stefan M. Selig, Under Secretary for International Trade at the US Department of Commerce, spoke after Obama.

He said that the US was proud to participate in the World Government Summit in the UAE as a guest nation.

I would like to echo the sentiments of the [US] President. I would like to thank His Highness Sheikg Mohammed for hosting this important event. It is His Highness’ leadership and vision that has made this year’s summit possible," he said.

We support the innovation strategy of the UAE. It represents a roadmap towards a more innovative economy. Our countries are partners in space research and technology on the Mars mission. The UAE’s commitment to innovation makes it a trusted partner of the US. 

“As more children get education, the country's economic growth is a forgone conclusion,” he said, noting the advances that the UAE is making in the field of providing education.

He hailed the UAE’s National Innovative Strategy and said that the strategy is a roadmap to expand opportunities for Emiratis. “The National Innovation Strategy will add to a diverse economy,” said Selig.

“The UAE's commitment is great support to innovation,” he added, noting that the UAE and the US are already collaborating in space research technology with the Al Amal probe.

He revealed that the UAE and the US governments will be signing an MoU today on innovation partnership.

Talking about global healthcare research, Selig said that genome and stem cell research has been slow.

“Innovation will lead to great opportunities in many fields, especially healthcare,” he said. “Modern responsible government has been identified as one to achieve citizen gains,” he said.

He noted that $1.2 billion were required to expand the education sector, to help on early education and innovation. “The governments of future have every aspect of governance being redefined,” he said.

Selig highlighted the need for a “deep commitment” to intellectual property. He said that innovation was helping in redefining responsible government, and that the US and its partners should develop friendly relationship with its partners. “Our counties can learn from each other,” he said.

“The summit will help the 150 countries here to improve,” he said, “and make our citizens more responsible.”

The fourth edition of the World Government Summit is being held from February 8 to 10, 2016, in Dubai.

The summit, held under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments’, is being attended by more than 3,000 participants from 125 countries, including top dignitaries, leaders and experts from the government and private sectors across the world.

The World Government Summit is being attended by a number of heads of states, governments and international organisations.

The World Government Summit is a knowledge-oriented forum that convenes representatives of academic institutions and scientific research centers and university students, who are invited to share their future visions and aspirations. The summit presents and discusses more than 70 topics highlighted by top speakers at the main and interactive sessions attended by a number of leaders, decision-makers, ministers, CEOs, leaders of innovation, officials, experts and entrepreneurs.

Jim Yong Kim, President of The World Bank Group, addressed delegates on Day 1 of the World Government Summit in Dubai.

He noted that this is his first visit to Dubai, and he is impressed with what HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has created.

“We will learn from you and stand by your side as you continue to accomplish. What we can't imagine, we’re sure Sheikh Mohammed you are already achieving and planning,” he said.

“I pledge the World Bank Group will continue to learn from you and share your successes here with other countries around the world,” he said.

He said the World Bank has been trying to reduce poverty for more than 60 years now.

“Good government is the foundation of all governance,” he said.

“It is fundamental to creating opportunity for all.”

Kim said that there were 1bn people living in poverty, with 700m people living below $2 per day.

“Shaping government will help to achieve our goal to end poverty by 2030,” he said.

Kim noted that global warming had resulted in 2015 being the hottest year in history. “Mena has been badly affected by lower oil prices,” he added.

In addition, he said political conflicts had impacted 15m people.

“We should shape government to deal with such situations,” he said.

He said that it raises suspicion when governments don’t allow people to participate.

“Inclusive government is based on three pillars: transparency, investment in people, creating opportunities,” he said. “Today, half of Dubai students are in good or premium schools. This is because of great interest in education,” he said and commended the UAE’s education policy as well as inclusive governance.

“Seeing HH tweeting for a minister aged under-25 is the most inspiring moment,” he said.

Education helps people to escape poverty, Kim noted.

“The greatest strength of Mena is its people, especially its youth,” he said. “Educated women can be an effective part of society,” he added. “A government which invests in health and education holds great opportunity for its people,” he said.

He gave the example of China, which created 64mn jobs in past 5 years. “The path to stability is through inclusive governments,” he said.

“Last week, we used innovative financial tools for Jordan and Lebanon that have been exceptional in taking in refugees,” Kim said. “Through the meeting we will provide $200m in direct finance for education and creating jobs,” he added.

“We are also seeking donors to raise $1bn, which will be then leveraged to raise $3-4bn,” he added.

He called upon all leaders to invest in their peoples today. “All leaders…This is the moment to invest in your people, and encourage private sectors to create jobs,” he said.

“We want to raise $20bn in the next five years,” Kim said.

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