Economists and industry experts are urging the Jeddah Economic Forum to address the challenges and opportunities surrounding sustainable job creation for youth.
“The objective should be to facilitate regional growth through strategic and long-term investment in job creation across two key growth sectors: Tourism, and Transportation Infrastructure,” John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Masic in Saudi Arabia, told Arab News.
The forum opens at Jeddah Hilton on Tuesday with Saudi and foreign experts making presentations on ways and means of improving the Kingdom’s business environment with a view to creating more jobs for Saudis.
Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah, who will open the forum, is expected to highlight the government’s efforts to strengthen the private sector.
Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, will be the keynote speaker at a special session on “Tourism as an opportunity for economic growth and job creation.”
Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfik Al-Rabiah, Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Jasser, Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes and AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes are other prominent speakers.
The forum also hosts Facebook’s cofounder, Chris Hughes, in a panel titled “Entrepreneurship: Challenges and Enablers” as a primary speaker.
Chris Hughes’ fortune is estimated to be around $100 million.
Sfakianakis added: “High labor force growth, skill mismatches, labor and product market rigidities, large public sectors, and high reservation wages have been key factors behind the large and persistent level of youth unemployment.”
He added: “The key to successfully addressing the unemployment challenge in MENA oil-importing countries is to turn the large and growing labor force into an asset, rather than a constraint. This will require ensuring sustained, high, and job-intensive growth, refocusing education and training to reduce skills mismatches, enhancing labor market flexibility and maintaining macroeconomic stability.”