MENA Summit program 3
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
7:00 am - 6:00 pm WED 2/7
8:00 am - 9:00 am WED 2/7
9:00 am - 10:30 am WED 2/7

The Middle East and North Africa region has taken great strides in education. Yet 27 percent of young adults in the region remain unemployed. In a region in which youth is a hugely significant proportion of the workforce, representing a total of 200 million young people across the MENA region, and with 65% of the population under 25, this issue is of utmost importance. Exacerbating this situation, the continued growth in the youth population will create increased demand for educational services at all levels and will place immense pressure on existing educational institutions.

This workshop will offer several sessions addressing the different challenges faced by the education industry and seek ways to turn this rising tide of young people into an engine growth for the region.

9:00 am - 10:30 am WED 2/7

This senior roundtable will examine a broad range of forces and trends impacting global capital markets, including the rise of cryptocurrencies, developments in fintech, regional free zones, and MENA economic policies.

Discussion topics will include:

  • How will human management change as technology plays a larger role in decision-making?
  • How will Cryptocurrencies effect our markets and portfolios this year?
11:00 am - 1:00 pm WED 2/7

The MENA region presents a juxtaposition of health challenges, necessitating the development of localized healthcare that addresses demographic realities, unique disease burdens, and socio-economic realities. Though the challenges may vary, the importance of driving innovation throughout delivery systems, investing in new technologies, prioritizing prevention, and supporting precision approaches to healthcare are universal. This interactive session will discuss strategies and investment opportunities that can accelerate progress, propel development, and improve health and wellbeing throughout the region.

11:00 am - 1:00 pm WED 2/7

The presence of art, and the infrastructure around it, not only enhances a city's cultural appeal to tourism, but also catalyzes the economic development opportunities surrounding it. From the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao Spain, which brought growth and prestige to a city in decline, to the phenomenon of Art Basel, which has played a key role in positioning Miami as a world-class city, pumping over $500 million into the economy for a one week art fair, the impact of investing in art has been evidenced around the world.

With the burgeoning art scene in the United Arab Emirates, reflected in the numerous boutique galleries and the establishment of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, this private, off-the-record session will discuss how the cultural landscape of the MENA region is primed to benefit from this growth strategy.

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm WED 2/7

With Great Britain scheduled to leave the E.U. on March 29, 2019, talks between the two sides have entered a particularly crucial phase. By October, European officials want deals struck on a Brexit transitional arrangement; legally implementing the Article 50 withdrawal provisionally agreed upon in December; and the framework of the future trade relationship. In this private session, we discuss the United Kingdom's objectives and explore how the future might unfold for the European Union without the U.K.

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm WED 2/7

While the past few decades have seen progressive shifts in societal pressures and an uptick in policies that support gender diversity in the world-wide workplace, the participation rate of women in the Middle East's labor force remains relatively low. In an effort to cultivate female talent, especially within senior positions, employers must recognize the unique set of circumstances women face in the MENA region, alongside the ambition of the historically (and globally) disenfranchised gender in navigating traditional ideas and meeting both health and productivity goals of their own.

This session will convene senior female leaders from across the technology, finance, medicine, education, and government sectors in the MENA region to both celebrate the great strides in regional development thus far and discuss strategies for bringing greater balance between career demands alongside health priorities and wellbeing going forward.

4:45 pm - 5:30 pm WED 2/7
5:45 pm - 7:00 pm WED 2/7
5:45 pm - 7:00 pm WED 2/7

In this exclusive, off-the-record gathering, a select group of senior leaders will discuss the most pressing economic challenges and the greatest opportunities on the horizon from both regional and global perspectives. The aim of this invitation-only meeting is to provide an opportunity for guests to hear frank, unfiltered insights from key leaders in business and finance.

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm WED 2/7
Thursday, February 8, 2018
7:00 am - 6:00 pm THU 2/8
9:00 am - 9:45 am THU 2/8
9:45 am - 10:00 am THU 2/8
10:00 am - 11:00 am THU 2/8

Technology has long been the catalyst driving the evolution of infrastructure in global cities. Significant advancements in transportation, infrastructure, energy usage, and connectivity have influenced urban planning and design, affecting how we interact with our surroundings in nearly every capacity. From the evolution of personal passenger cars to the adoption of autonomous taxis, to electronic data collection and more efficient management of resources, this session will discuss the future of the urban areas we live in and advise on how to best navigate potential obstacles and unintended consequences of adopting exponentially advancing technologies.

10:00 am - 11:00 am THU 2/8

As the Middle East looks to its neighbors for potential outward investment, the gaze has concertedly turned towards Africa. The adjacent continent is equally nonhomogeneous as the MENA region, with many different industries, prospects, cultures, languages, and peoples to navigate when evaluating the investment landscape. As with any growth opportunity, there are challenges to consider. Investors must assess governance structures, political environments, culture, tradition, and regulatory policies alongside the human capital dividends, growth potential, and promise of these emerging markets.

This session will serve as a roadmap for navigating the African opportunity, sharing examples of international actors who have entered continental markets successfully, alongside regional case studies highlighting best practices and common missteps along the way.

10:00 am - 11:00 am THU 2/8
10:00 am - 11:00 am THU 2/8

This private, off-the-record roundtable will focus on the business opportunities presented by connecting leading sovereign wealth fund investors and family offices from the region alongside the Milken Institute's Global Capital Markets Advisory Council (GCMAC) discussing issues driving their investment decisions. GCMAC is made up of senior leaders of large funds who represent more than $20 trillion in assets under management. For nearly a decade, the GCMAC has provided CIOs of the world's largest pension funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies, and sovereign wealth funds with a private, off-the-record forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing institutional investors.

11:00 am - 11:15 am THU 2/8
11:15 am - 12:15 pm THU 2/8

The meteoric increase in value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin - and many others - has ignited a worldwide investment frenzy and frequent double-digit price fluctuations. Such volatility has led many of the preeminent voices in finance, including Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett, to call Bitcoin a "fraud" and "mirage." And yet the collective market capitalization of Bitcoin and the other Top 10 digital currencies is roughly half a trillion USD. Is Crypto a global Ponzi scheme, the legitimate currency of the future, or something in between?

11:15 am - 12:15 pm THU 2/8

While philanthropy in the broadest sense has been deeply and traditionally embedded in the Middle East for centuries, organized philanthropy is a relatively new concept. At the same time, tracking data and scholarly analysis are playing catchup to an emerging marketplace of social impact ideas and a flurry of activity that is happening in real time.

This session will look at local examples of emergent philanthropy such as the "Arab Giving Network", encouraging peer learning and action-oriented conversation that could well serve as a powerful catalyst for the nascent, but dynamic and burgeoning, philanthropic/social investment sector in MENA.

12:15 pm - 12:30 pm THU 2/8
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm THU 2/8
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm THU 2/8
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm THU 2/8

China's One Belt, One Road project - comprising of more than 68 countries, encompassing 4.4 billion people, and up to 40 percent of global GDP - will have major ramifications for countries and economies around the globe, especially those in Eurasia and the Asia-Pacific. Properly assessing the potential risks and volatility in OBOR related projects around the world and in varying economies will be central to its overall success. During this panel, experts will give an overview of the current state of the OBOR Initiative, both in the MENA region and internationally, and some of its potential obstacles.

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm THU 2/8

Leading international investors examine issues shaping global credit markets, such as the impact of, and investor response to, recent changes monetary policies, as well as the implications of U.S. tax reform. The discussion is also expected to explore capital structures and credit instruments that are delivering the best risk-adjusted profiles, areas of credit in which idiosyncratic risk is making a return, and how investors view near-term geopolitical events.

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm THU 2/8

The Middle East is an affluent region and home to very sophisticated investors, including sovereign wealth funds, large family offices, and venture capital. Yet, most successful regional startups raise the majority of their funding from international investors. While the ability to raise funds from international investors is validating the quality and maturity of growth and late stage startups in the region, there is insufficient funding available from investors in the home market.

In this panel, we will explore the underlying reasons for this gap and ways to foster a better regional investment ecosystem.

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm THU 2/8
3:45 pm - 4:45 pm THU 2/8

More than half of humanity is now online in one form or another, highlighting both the dramatic impact of the digital revolution as well as its vast, untapped potential to change lives through advances in A.I., healthcare, and access to capital and information. Where will the next wave of opportunities and challenges present themselves, and how can the ongoing transformation to the way we work, live, thrive and communicate be shared globally?

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm THU 2/8

Despite being gifted with a rich abundance of hydrocarbons and mineral resources, the Middle East and North Africa is an arid region that suffers from water scarcity and food insecurity. As more traditional farming methods may not be immediately transferrable, the region is turning its attention to the growing trend of vertical farming, advancements in agricultural technology, and the burgeoning community of experts aiming to make healthy and affordable food available to all.

This session would bring together local environmental champions, regional agricultural investors, creative international farming models, and food security experts, eager to share scalable strategies and best practices that are uniquely positioned to have greatest impact in the MENA region.

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm THU 2/8

In the era of low oil prices, access to foreign direct investment (FDI) is critical to the region. As the investment disruptions caused by the Arab Spring fade, foreign investment is returning to the MENA region, with a wide array of major projects in the works. This panel will discuss the key role that capital markets and financial infrastructure plays in not only attracting FDI but also creating solutions to the regional challenges.

What industries in MENA are ripe for international investors? What political or reputational risk factors are considered impacts on local development efforts and economic growth?

4:45 pm - 5:00 pm THU 2/8
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm THU 2/8

Global capital markets closed 2017 with compressed spreads and surging stocks. This is leading the Federal Reserve and other central banks to consider a change in policy and interest rate hikes in reaction to a perceived strengthening global economy. But investors still remain split about the near-term outlook with high-levels of geopolitical risk juxtaposed to placid markets. This panel of experts will discuss some of the most pressing issues facing markets and where they see opportunity.

  • Is this the golden age of private equity with debt markets that are providing favorable rates and high levels of debt?
  • How are credit investors navigating the declining use of covenants?
  • What credit structures and portions of the capital structure are offering the best risk/return profiles for investors?
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm THU 2/8
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm THU 2/8