JEDDAH: Demand for food will rise by about 48 percent by the year 2030, according to Kito De Boer, director at McKinsey and Company.
Speaking in the first session of the Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF) Sunday, De Boer addressed the impact of global forces on economics, the rebalance between East and West and ways of enhancing productivity using inexpensive methods.
He also discussed the “global network” – a description of a world where people are connected and depend on each other; the role of technology in creating a prosperous world; food products and prices; and the increasing economic differences inside countries and the resultant pressure on people.
He said productivity is the single most important thing that can improve an economy.
He noted that various types of trade and commercial activity have developed and grown significantly, even innovation and technology, in Third World countries.
“In the next 20 years, 80 percent of global growth will come from the developing world,” De Boer said.
He said major urbanization took place during 2009, with as much as 1.5 million people moving to cities every week, adding that “in China 25 percent of people lived in cities in 1997 and that number has risen to more than 50 percent today”. “The number is going to increase in the future and governments should know how to manage cities,” he said.
He said that Saudi Arabia’s growth over the past 40 years has now ensured it is ranked the fifth country in the world in terms of economic development, followed by Oman, Indonesia and Nepal.
De Boer also said that employment, education, and entrepreneurship will affect the economies in the Middle East, which will face the challenge of creating jobs for citizens.
“In the Gulf region the challenge is in the ability to create jobs and engage the young in the market. The employment rate is low in the Gulf with a comparatively young population who need to find jobs,” he said.
Also speaking in the first JEF session, Mohammed Al-Jasser, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, said that King Abdullah’s Royal Decrees will make a big difference to the local economy.
“I think the decrees will change the direction of our economic development especially in employment and housing,” Al-Jasser said.
He said that the G21 which includes Saudi Arabia and Turkey has a great impact on the economy especially as it represents one-third of the world.
“The G21 will affect global decisions and reform the global economy to end the economic crisis,” he said.
Arif Naqvi, Chairman of Abraaj Capital, said that governments and individuals should cooperate to overcome economic problems.
“Individuals need to ask how they can be involved in society as entrepreneurs and help solve the problem of unemployment. It is difficult for governments to face the problem of unemployment alone,” he said, adding that it is possible to create jobs in the Gulf especially with recent development projects.
– Okaz/ Saudi Gazette