The story behind tapping the potential for the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region is rather similar to the popular children’s tale of a small plucky train, a stalled locomotive, and challenging terrain.
- A thriving private sector is essential to drive sustainable economic growth.
- Economic integration will make MENAP a more competitive region.
- Selective deregulation, free movement of resources and common standards will encourage economic integration.
Spanning Pakistan to Morocco, MENAP represents 8.5% of the world’s population. But we only generate 3.4% of global GDP, with just two of our companies making it into the Fortune 500. Estimated growth in 2019 amounted to just 1%, and the outlook across the region remains one of low to no growth.
Today’s world has considerably more data and more means to interrogate that data than ever before. While the data advancements made in recent years are well reported, the coronavirus pandemic has revealed that we are not yet realising the full potential of the data that exists.
The power of collective action is evident in the global response to coronavirus. However, while countries harnessed technology across sectors – health, education and research – the pandemic exposed the fragility of the global economy.
Ever since the industrial revolution, economic development in large parts of the world has been heading in one direction, towards a “throwaway society”. Economic growth has revolved around a “take, make, use and waste” model: we take resources out of the ground, make products and discard them as waste when they are no longer needed.
There is no doubt that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Yet despite the vast amount of information experts are producing on this subject, embodied carbon reduction is a vital topic that commands less column inches and is achieving minimal progress outside a few advanced international companies. If we fail to acknowledge the risks associated with embodied carbon, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia could find itself reactively addressing rapidly changing industry guidelines. While the need to address this issue is low at the moment in comparison to operational carbon, if it’s not addressed, the embodied carbon challenge becomes greater and greater. The issue is also magnified by the figures being produced by numerous leading international bodies, many of which paint a remarkably sombre picture if action is delayed.
Corporate learning and development (L&D) has undergone a digital revolution in recent months − and a much needed one. As companies have pivoted, creating new virtual programmes for thousands of colleagues, it has become clear these shifts will have profound, ongoing implications for the way we think about learning, both, as learners and as learning professionals. Getting this right will propel organisations into the world of ‘Learning for the Digital Age’.