IMF ‘Call for Action’ for inclusive growth in MENA


The above-featured image is for illustration and is of YouTube


IMF ‘Call for Action’ for inclusive growth in MENA

Marrakech, Morocco

A ‘Call for Action’ to close the gap between the growth models of the past and the growth engines of the future and inclusive growth in MENA was issued by Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Sunday.
IMF 'Call for Action' for inclusive growth in MENA

Kristalina Georgieva

Following her meeting with ministers of finance and central bank governors of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Pakistan during the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings held in Marrakech, she outlined action on five points: Fostering a vibrant private sector, overhauling social protection systems, providing opportunities for the youth, easing barriers to female participation in economic life, and making green investment an engine of growth and job creation.
“The IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings have returned to the Arab World after 20 years when we were gathered in Dubai. Much has changed over the last two decades, but perhaps one of the most promising changes is that inclusive growth has become a household word and a unifying call across the region. Reflecting its importance, last year the IMF published a book highlighting the priority reforms that would allow MENA to achieve an inclusive and job-rich growth.
“For these Annual Meetings, we have built on this work and collaborated with policymakers, thinktanks, the youth, and partner institutions to bring the focus for the region back to the priorities of more and better jobs, shared prosperity, and enhanced voice for youth and underrepresented groups. Many countries in the region are still struggling to ensure greater and fairer opportunities for all. A large share of youth is inactive, wide rural/urban disparities continue, and economic opportunities for women remain scarce. Social protection systems are weak and job creation feeble. Recent shocks like the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, as well as global trends like climate change and automation have compounded these vulnerabilities. The result is rising inequalities and opportunity gaps and a narrower policy space to tackle them.
“We at the IMF are a long-standing partner to countries in the MENA region in the quest for more inclusive and resilient growth. In the Amman (2014) and Marrakech (2018) regional conferences, we called on MENA policymakers, the private sector, and civil society to build a new social contract to ensure that the benefits of economic development accrue more broadly to all citizens. While progress has been slow, preserving reform momentum is essential,” she said.
‘Call of Action’
Fostering a vibrant private sector: Developing the region’s private sector will require eliminating the many barriers preventing new firms from entering markets and existing small businesses and startups from growing in scale. In this context, leveling the playing field between public and private firms is a key priority for the region. Reforming burdensome government regulations, enhancing financial inclusion, and, more broadly, promoting good governance can significantly improve economic growth in MENA. Accelerating digitalization and investing in new technologies will help achieve many of these goals.
Overhaul of social protection systems: Guaranteeing citizens more equal access to basic services—such as health, education, and social insurance—through more efficient, cost-effective, and targeted social assistance will ensure that those most in need could experience a visible improvement in their livelihoods.
Providing opportunities for the youth: This will require revamping education and training systems to address skills mismatches and ensure that the 100 million youth reaching working age in the next 10 years will have the skills sought by 21st-century employers. Better access to finance will foster entrepreneurship and support innovation and creation.
Easing barriers to female participation in economic life: Many MENA economies have in common a relatively large pool of highly educated young women who do not find their way into effective participation in formal labor markets. The region cannot afford to continue underutilizing this human capital. Doubling the female labor force participation rate over the next 15 years can improve potential output in a country like Morocco by about 3 percent.
Making green investment an engine of growth and job creation: Adaptation strategies would not only boost growth but also improve inclusiveness, as it is the most vulnerable who benefit the most from reduced exposure to catastrophic events. The transition to renewable energy sources is not only necessary for sustainability reasons but could also be a powerful engine of growth and job creation.
“Macroeconomic stability will be an essential foundation for transformative change. High levels of public debt in a number of MENA economies leave them vulnerable to future shocks. Rebuilding fiscal buffers may require redesigning tax systems to widen tax bases, improve the progressivity of taxation, and reduce distortions that lead to informality,” said Georgieva.
“These principles will form the basis of the IMF’s engagement with MENA policymakers and other stakeholders for the years to come. Structural reforms take time. By working together, we can tackle old and new challenges and build a future for the region grounded in a more sustainable and inclusive model of development.”



The Gulf states can catalyze trade within the Middle East and North Africa region and the region’s integration into the global trading system

The world has witnessed a tectonic shift in global economic geography and trade toward emerging Asia in the past two decades. However, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has remained one of the least dominant, accounting for just 7.4 percent of total trade in 2022. The region’s trade is characterized by a relatively high concentration of exports in a narrow range of products or trading partners, limited economic complexity, and low participation in global value chains.

Even so, commodity-dependent nations in the MENA region have made substantial gains over time, specifically in trade diversification, as shown by the Global Economic Diversification Index, which tracks the extent of economic diversification from multiple dimensions, including economic activity, international trade, and government revenues.

The MENA region’s total trade in goods as a percent of GDP (an indicator of openness) was 65.5 percent in 2021, indicating a relatively open regional economy. Yet, as shown in Chart 1, intraregional trade is low, representing only 17.8 percent of total trade and 18.5 percent of total exports, despite a common language and culture as well as geographic proximity. The six oil-exporting Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations—Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates—account for the bulk of intraregional trade.

Their dominance of intraregional trade suggests that the Gulf nations could become a catalyst for regional trade integration, helping lower barriers to trade, improving trade infrastructure, and diversifying the region’s economies. Greater integration of non-GCC Middle East nations with the GCC will lead to more intraregional trade and greater global integration (via the GCC’s existing global linkages and participation in global value chains). With the growing global economic integration of the GCC nations and their concerted effort in supporting the region’s other nations (via increased trade and investment deals with Egypt and Iraq, for example), they can be a conduit for greater integration of the rest of the region into world trade.

Region’s laggards

Why have non-GCC countries lagged when it comes to intraregional trade? In part it is a failure of the MENA region’s multiple regional trade (and investment) agreements. The share of intragroup exports in the Arab region, excluding the GCC, has remained below 2 percent of their trade flows, partially a reflection of regional fragmentation, violence, and wars since the mid-1990s and following the Arab Spring in 2011. The region comprises a group of nations characterized by significant political differences, and this is reflected in trade patterns as well. For example, the orientation of the Maghreb nations of North Africa has been toward Europe, with the regional Euro-Med program and agreements supporting such linkages.

A contributing factor to the stagnation of intraregional trade is the lack of growth of trade in services. MENA services trade has ranged between 4 and 6 percent of global services trade in the past two decades. This pales in comparison with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, which account for more than two-thirds of global services trade. Within the MENA region, the GCC accounts for the bulk of services trade, with the largest shares in relatively low-value-added sectors like travel (and tourism) and transportation. The services trade is held back by restrictive policies that limit entry in sectors dominated by state-owned enterprises, such as telecommunications, or that impose high fees and license requirements, especially in professional and transportation services.

Such restrictive policies, along with structural deficiencies, encumber MENA nations’ trade both within the region and globally.

MENA nations apply more, and more restrictive, nontariff measures than in any other region. These almost doubled between 2000 and 2020. Lack of uniform standards and harmonization, pervasive red tape, and corruption compound the effects of these barriers. Business and investment barriers include cumbersome licensing processes, complex regulations, and opaque bidding and procurement procedures.

MENA as a region underperforms on trade facilitation measures to ease the movement of goods at the border and reduce overall trade costs, though there are wide disparities across the region. The quality of trade- and transportation-related infrastructure is significantly lower in the non-GCC MENA nations. Furthermore, delays at the port result in excessive “dwell times” (delays of more than 12 days) for imported goods in some MENA countries. Algeria and Tunisia delays average about 20 days versus less than five days in the United Arab Emirates (among the top three globally).

Knocking down barriers

Overcoming these impediments to wider trade for the region requires removing barriers to trade and investment, diversifying the region’s economies, and improving infrastructure.

A new generation of trade agreements, including more knowledge-intensive services, would not only support export diversification policies but would also help bridge gender gaps, improve women’s economic empowerment, and subsequently result in more inclusive economic growth and integration.

The pandemic has underscored the need for trade diversification (both of products and partners) and development of new supply chains. Although the GCC’s oil trade remains dominant, its members have embarked on various policies and structural reforms, such as increasing labor mobility and opening capital markets across borders, to diversify away from overdependence on fossil fuels and associated revenues. This has resulted in diversification of both the output mix (for example, increased focus on manufacturing) and the export product mix (for example, more services exports) alongside an evident shift in trade patterns toward Asia and away from the United States and Europe. More recently, the war in Ukraine further highlighted the plight of food-importing nations in the Middle East in the context of food security. (Ukraine and Russia accounted for a third of global wheat exports; Lebanon and Tunisia were importing close to 50 percent of their wheat from Ukraine.)

The Global Economic Diversification Index trade subindex shows that the commodity-dependent nations with the most improved scores over time have either reduced dependence on fuel exports, reduced export concentration, or witnessed a massive change in the composition of exports. An example of the latter is Saudi Arabia’s increased focus on medium- and high-tech exports, which rose as a share of overall manufacturing exports, to almost 60 percent right before COVID from less than 20 percent in 2000. The MENA region as a whole has already made some headway toward diversification, as shown in Chart 2.

The GCC nations have benefited from the recent rise in commodity prices, but the pandemic reinforced strategies, including the development of free zones and special economic zones, to diversify into new sectors. These policies range from attracting investment (including foreign direct investment) to higher-value-added, higher-tech manufacturing; investing in new sectors (renewable energy, fintech, artificial intelligence); and opening markets to new investors and investments (as is evident in the recent spate of initial public offerings in both the oil and non-oil sectors). These reforms help expand markets (within the MENA region and toward Africa, Europe, and South Asia), while up-and-coming sectors like renewable energy and agritech offer sustainable ways of expanding the extensive and intensive margins of trade and generating new job opportunities.

Engine for regional integration

Full achievement of the benefits of regional trade integration requires a reform of trade policies to break down barriers, including restrictive nontariff measures, complex regulation, corruption, and logistical roadblocks.

Integrating the MENA region’s trade infrastructure (ports, airports, logistics) with that of the GCC would lower costs and facilitate intraregional trade, leading to greater regional integration and generating gains from trade for all parties. The GCC can lead the economic integration and transformation of the region via investments in hard infrastructure and trade-related infrastructure and logistics, in addition to developing an integrated GCC power grid. A GCC renewable-energy-powered, integrated electricity grid could extend all the way to Europe, Pakistan, and India.

The GCC nations have an opportunity to benefit from global decoupling and fragmentation with their unfolding strategy of pursuing globalization as a regional group through new trade and investment agreements, foreign aid, and direct and portfolio investment. The ongoing disengagement from long-standing regional conflicts, in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Libya, and elsewhere, and the forging of new links (diplomatic opening such as the Abraham Accords) reduce the geopolitical risks of promoting regional trade and investment. The GCC can use this as an opportunity to shape the MENA region into an interlinked trade and investment hub. The GCC’s accelerated new free trade negotiations with key partners in the MENA region, including Egypt and Jordan, and in Asia, including China and South Korea, could become the cornerstone of this transformation. The United Arab Emirates have already signed comprehensive economic partnership agreements with India, Indonesia, and Türkiye covering services, investment, and regulatory aspects of trade.

There are two complementary ways to move forward. One is to implement the GCC Common Market, invest in digital trade, lower tariff and nontariff barriers, and reduce restrictions on trade in services, along with reforms to facilitate greater mobility of labor and enhance financial and capital market linkages. Second, the GCC should develop new deep trade agreements with the other MENA countries, going beyond international trade to encompass agreement on nontariff measures, direct investment, e-commerce and services, labor standards, taxation, competition, intellectual property rights, climate, the environment, and public procurement (including mega projects). The GCC nations, which have historically used foreign aid and humanitarian aid to support MENA nations, should opt for an “aid for trade” policy to support their partners in implementing trade-boosting reforms that lower business and investment barriers, improve logistics infrastructure, and facilitate the movement of goods.


NASSER SAIDI is the president of Nasser Saidi and Associates. He was formerly chief economist of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, Lebanon’s economy minister, and a vice governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon.

AATHIRA PRASAD is director of macroeconomics at Nasser Saidi and Associates.




Protecting Human Rights the Euro-Med Monitor Way


Protecting Human Rights in the Euro-Med Monitor Way as proposed by Richard Falk, should not come as a surprise.  The Mediterranean Sea today is a vital corridor for the world.  It has been so for time immemorial.

The above image is of Encyclopedia Britannica


Protecting Human Rights the Euro-Med Monitor Way


Photograph Source: Lorenzo Tlacaelel – CC BY 2.0

Not as widely known as it deserves to be given its accomplishments and creative approach, is a small human rights civil society organization called Euro-Med Human Monitor (EMM). It was inspired 11 years ago by the oppressive conditions existing in Gaza, and founded by a group of activists led by Ramy Abdu, then a resident of Gaza while still a doctoral student at the University of Manchester.

From the beginning EMM’s dedication to the promotion of human rights spread beyond the borders of Occupied Palestine, and EMM now has offices or representatives in 17 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, known as the MENA region and Europe, it is becoming a truly international organization with headquarters in Geneva, supported by volunteers and representatives spread throughout the world. In its short lifetime EMM has developed a strong reputation for political independence, staff dedication, effectiveness and efficiency, and most of all for its distinctive way of operating.

To begin withl, EMM is youth-oriented and much of its work is done by volunteers who learn by doing and working as teams with more experienced defenders of human rights. By adopting this mode of work, EMM has avoided diversions of its energies by major fundraising efforts, preferring to move forward with a small budget offset by big ideas, an impressive record of performance, continually motivated by outrage resulting from the widespread wrongdoing of governments throughout MENA. The initial idea of Euro-Med Monitor was inspired by popular rebellions against tyranny and oppression. This spirit of resistance swept through the Arab region in 2011 and continues to make its influence felt everywhere. Euro-Med Monitor strives to support these movements by planting seeds for international mobilization and stimulating international organizations and decision-makers to focus on violations of the people’s right to expression, freedom, and self-determination.

Perhaps, one the most innovative features of EMM is its stress on empowering victims of abuse to tell their stories to the world in their own voices. A recent example was the testimony at the Human Rights Council in Geneva of Suhaila al-Masri, the grandmother of Fatima al-Masri, who told the heart-rending story of how her 20 month old granddaughter died of suffocation because her exit permit from Gaza to receive emergency treatment was delayed without reason. EMM prides itself by working with victims to recover their sense of worth in a variety of struggles against the abuses they endured in the hope of avoiding similar suffering by others. In this innovative sense the empowerment of victims is complemented by establishing sites for training young human rights defenders to go on to have a variety of societal roles as they older.

Another example of this empowerment ethos practiced by EMM involves a 22-yearr old Palestinian woman, Zainab al-Quolaq, who lost 22 members of her family in an air attack that destroyed her home in Gaza a few year ago.  Zainab herself miraculously survived despite being buried in rubble from the attack for 20 hours. EMM encouraged Zainab to write her story, but writing did not come easily to her, but it was discovered that she was a natural artist. Not only could she draw but she could depict a range of emotions, especially of torment and loss, that derived from her tragic encounter with the mass death of her family members. In what was a dramatic success story, Zainab al-Quolaq, began serious study of painting, going on to become an acclaimed artist, even holding gallery exhibitions of her work in her native Gaza, but also in Geneva, even in the United States, evoking media enthusiasm. Zainab also spoke before the Human rights Council on behalf of Euro-Med Monitor in March. EMM and UN Women helped her release her first booklet containing 9 of her paintings describing her feelings during and in the aftermath of the attack. After she was isolating herself for months following the traumatizing attack, Zainab is now more open and has begun a Master’s degree in business administration.

At this time, EMM feels its special identity is solidified by having 70% of its active staff either drawn from youth or from the ranks of those victimized by human rights abuses. The organization reaches out beyond victims of war and torture to more subtle forms of encroachment on human dignity such as prolonged refugee status or mistreatment of women. An instructive example is the encouragement of the formation of a Gaza initiative with the assertive name, We Are Not Numbers, suggesting human rights is about self-preservation of human identity under circumstances of pervasive oppression of which Gaza is the most vivid instance, but by no means the only site of such struggles within the MENA region.

It would be a mistake to suppose that EMM, despite its origins, was only concerned with the Palestinian agenda. A look at its Website or Twitter account would quickly dispel such an idea as would a glance at the titles of recent EMM reports or appearances before the Human Rights Council. Among the topic covered in recent reports are the targeting of journalists in Sudan, disguised and punitive racism toward MENA asylum seekers and immigrants from MENA, human displacement in Yemen, interferences with the freedom and safety of journalists in various countries within their scope of concern. EMM uses a network of 300 writers to tell the stories of those who have been abused when the victims themselves are not available. The overall EMM undertaking seeks to convey the issues of concern in different countries by employing what Ramy Abdu calls ‘the real discourse of the people.’

With its headquarters in Geneva, EMM is particularly active in the formal proceedings and side events associated with the Human Rights Council. It has mounted actions and testimony on such matters as opposition to EU surveillance of asylum seekers in Europe, arms exports to Yemen, and the rescue of persons who have been coercively disappeared in Yemen and Syria.

In my judgment, EMM is creating a new and exciting model for how to combine civil society activism with effective efforts to improve the overall protection of human rights. It is a young organization, but one with incredible promise, having already compiled a record to admire and emulate.

For contact ; for website 

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, Chair of Global law, Queen Mary University London, and Research Associate, Orfalea Center of Global Studies, UCSB.



In the MENA, people are worrying about food


The Washington Post published an Analysis by Michael Robbins and Amaney Jamal on how in the MENA, people are worrying about food.  

What do people across the Middle East and North Africa think about food security, gender equality, democracy, climate change and China? Arab Barometer, the largest and longest-standing public opinion survey covering the MENA region, provides insights.

The new seventh wave includes more than 26,000 face-to-face interviews covering 12 MENA countries. The survey, conducted October 2021 to July, is the largest public opinion survey in the region since the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some takeaways.

Food insecurity has hit alarming levels

In half of the countries surveyed, a majority of citizens reported that they have often or sometimes run out of food within the previous 12 months. And most citizens in three-quarters of the countries surveyed say they worried that they would run out of money before they could afford more food, over the same period.

The bulk of these surveys were carried out before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which means the results don’t capture the full extent of the subsequent jump in food costs and shortages of food across much of the region. The growing sense of food insecurity is of particular concern beyond the clear human cost. Salma al-Shami explains in a new report how the lack of food is linked to a lower commitment to democracy, a higher desire to emigrate and diminished concerns about addressing climate change and other critical issues facing the region.


Citizens want democracy — but realize it’s not perfect

In previous Arab Barometer survey waves, the vast majority of respondents affirm that democracy remains the best system of governance. This seventh wave is no exception — but there have been dramatic changes in the perception of democracy overall. In the past few years, MENA publics have become far more likely to say that the economy runs poorly under democracy, that democracy leads to instability and that democracy is indecisive.

These outcomes could reflect the broader global retrenchment of democracy. Or perhaps these shifts are the result of MENA citizens reflecting on the recent challenges experienced by countries in the region such as Tunisia, Lebanon and Iraq — three countries where governments have changed as a result of elections in the past decade. Regardless, the results make clear that citizens value democracy, though many have updated their views of how democracy works.

MENA countries are far from achieving gender equality

Arab Barometer surveys asked respondents whether men and women should play equal roles in public and private life. In most of the surveyed countries, majorities responded that men are better political leaders and that men should have the final say over decisions in the family. However, new analysis by MaryClare Roche demonstrates how these views are changing across much of the region.

In the case of Tunisia, over the past four years, Arab Barometer surveys show a 16-point decline in the perception that men are better at politics. And in Lebanon, surveys note a 16-point drop in the perception that men should have the final say within the household, compared with the 2018 survey. This recent survey wave found smaller but meaningful declines on these perceptions in a number of countries, suggesting that the region is moving toward a greater acceptance of women’s equality.

China remains more popular than the United States, but that might change

Arab citizens are more positive toward China than toward the United States, but views of America have improved, while views of China are rapidly changing. In Jordan and the Palestinian territories, citizens are now 20 points less likely to want closer economic ties with China than in 2018-2019. In Sudan, Morocco, Libya and Lebanon, Arab Barometer found a decline of at least five points on this same question. And none of the countries surveyed showed a meaningful increase in citizen support for closer economic links with China over this period.


China’s relative decline probably comes down to a closer familiarity with Beijing’s foreign policies. Arab Barometer also looked at perceptions of Chinese economic investment in local infrastructure. Although MENA publics largely see Chinese investment as the most affordable option for infrastructure projects, they also perceive these projects as low-quality investments that pay lower salaries to the local workforce than companies from other countries would probably pay.

Ultimately, most publics appear more likely to prefer investment from a U.S. or European company vs. a Chinese company. As China continues to pursue economic engagement in the region, these findings suggest that views of China might not improve as a result of this strategy.

Citizens worry about climate change but rank other concerns higher

The global COP27 meeting in Egypt will take place in November. New questions developed for this wave reveal that many MENA citizens think climate change is a critical issue and they want their governments to do more to address the problem. When asked about their primary environmental concerns, the primary issue is water — water scarcity, pollution of drinking water and pollution of their country’s waterways.

Citizens are also likely to assign equal blame the government and their fellow citizens for the lack of progress on environmental issues. Majorities in all the countries surveyed say that both parties are responsible for existing environmental challenges.

The survey also finds that levels of recycling or reusing basic items varies widely across the region. However, questions that asked why respondents recycle reveal that few cite the environment. Instead, the primary personal motivations behind recycling are cost savings and convenience. In short, concerns about the environment take a back seat when compared with other issues, but MENA publics are aware of environmental challenges and want action.

Michael Robbins is director and co-principal investigator at Arab Barometer.

Amaney Jamal is dean of the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and co-principal investigator of Arab Barometer.

Arab Barometer data and data analysis tools are freely available online thanks to our funders, including the Middle East Partnership Initiative, USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the BBC Arabic.

Read more on the Washington Post:

How Autodesk is helping its customers in creating a sustainable future


GULF BUSINESS in this interview with one of AUTODESK’s directors in the Gulf on how it is helping its customers towards a sustainable future and eventually go through .

How Autodesk is helping its customers in creating a sustainable future

Louay Dahmash, senior director at Autodesk, talks about the company’s vision to create real, meaningful impact with its technology and accelerate industry transformation

The Impact Report outlines our approach and performance within the business across important environmental, social and governance issues. Notably, we have neutralised greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our operations and entire value chain for the second year in a row. We believe we have the power to create real, meaningful impact and accelerate industry transformation. In October 2021, we issued our first sustainability bond offering, totalling $1bn, to further align our financial and impact strategies. In this year alone, Autodesk has reduced 1.4 million+ metric tons CO2 of GHG through the Autodesk Foundation’s global portfolio and $18.5m was raised in philanthropic funding by Autodesk and the Autodesk Foundation. We’re proud of the progress that has been made, but much work remains to be done, and we have multiple levers in place to drive progress across the business and that of our clients and the wider industry.

Why should sustainability be considered by tech companies and how are you incorporating it within your ecosystem?
Each year, we see a rise in demand for more and cleaner resources as the global population and standards of living continue to increase. We envision a low-carbon future with minimal pollution and waste, where renewable energy powers our world and materials maintain value while cycling through a circular economy. We remain steadfast in our commitment to advance sustainable business practices toward net-zero carbon emissions, both here in the region in line with the UAE net-zero goals, as well as globally. Technology, deployed appropriately, has the power to solve the most challenging global issues, measure, manage, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve global health and resilience. Our technologies create a positive impact across industries, by empowering customers to harness data, automation, and insights to improve the impact of design and make decisions – enabling them to reduce costs and energy.

Is there specific legislation that compels companies to declare their carbon production to achieve sustainability goals? 
Approximately 19 per cent of global GHG emissions are from the manufacturing industry. In addition to that, the buildings sector represents 38 per cent of energy and process-related GHG emissions globally. Legislations can therefore, provide a framework to regulate the path to sustainability. For example, in order to comply with materials regulations worldwide, such as the European Union’s legislation, and the UAE’s National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017–2050, which sets a clear path to reducing emissions, companies face increasing pressure to assess and document the materials used in their products, and in some cases to ensure materials’ traceability throughout the supply chain. We work with our customers to better manage and measure their impact through advanced data and analytics and enable them to reduce embodied carbon, decrease construction waste, and develop smart and sustainable cities.

What are the challenges that you have faced when making your business model more sustainable?
There are specific technology related challenges to achieving the above goals as firms worldwide grapple with digital transformation. Supporting our customers with critical technology is therefore an important opportunity area for us. In addition, the accelerated pace of change today demands that we work beyond industries to drive cross-sector collaboration and catalyse industry-wide innovation. It is also imperative to upskill our employees for the challenges of Industry 4.0 to ensure a resilient and prosperous future. We prioritise the health, wellbeing, and safety of our employees, who advance our efforts in this area. They create and deliver the practices and technologies that our customers and other innovators can use to design and make products and places that are safer, healthier, and more resilient. Finally, for business models to be truly sustainable, it is important for the entire value chain to be sustainable. The focus should be on creating a truly sustainable business with efficient operations committed to net-zero carbon and 100 per cent renewable energy commitments alongside a prosperous workforce to enable a sustainable future for all.

How are you helping customers drastically reduce their own environmental footprint?
Our customers represent our largest opportunity to create a positive impact at scale. Our software platform helps automate complex processes and transform data into actionable insights that empower innovators to improve the impact of everything they design, make, own and operate. Cloud solutions and connected data environments fuel innovation – across technology, processes, supply chain and industries. Through our technology, we are empowering them to create solutions, connect their data, and accelerate the outcomes that matter to them.

How does sustainability affect society and the future of work?
It is important to address workforce prosperity and the needs and desires of multiple stakeholders, from employees to customers to communities as well as investors. As more and more stakeholders become involved in business decision-making, it’s driving the movement toward more sustainable future operations. Governments can also support stakeholder capitalism with initiatives that protect consumer data and the environment and promote investment in employees. The UAE is an ideal platform to advance our future skilling initiatives as we align with the goals of the visionary leadership of instilling digital education and skills into the youth, and providing an array of opportunities for them to access lifelong learning which will empower them to become the change makers of tomorrow. The global economy is changing, and the workforce of tomorrow won’t look the same as today. While new technologies can enable great efficiency, we believe the future of work is still human.

The above-featured image is Autodesk launching its online store in the Middle East back in June 2021.