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HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid opens Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit in Abu Dhabi

The inaugural edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) has been officially opened by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Abu Dhabi.

The Summit is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The Opening Ceremony was held at the Summit venue Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University, UAE, convening more than 500 high-profile speakers and delegates drawn from the global manufacturing community spanning government, business and civil society. The evening witnessed an inspirational speech followed by a video which highlighted the role of the manufacturing sector in restoring global prosperity.

A series of thought-provoking speeches focused on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) on the manufacturing sector and explored how industry can act as a driving force to help boost sluggish economic growth, create jobs and prosperity, and address other pressing issues facing the world. Speaking at the Opening Ceremony were the Summit Co-Chairs H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori and Mr LI Yong, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Co-Chair of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit.

"Today, the UAE might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of manufacturing. But, as we stand on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is nations like the United Arab Emirates which have the most to gain, and the most to offer, amid rapid changes in the manufacturing sector," H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori said.

H.E Al Mansoori added: "The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said last year that we should celebrate the UAE's last barrel of oil. His confidence in our bright economic future will be realized by the UAE becoming the global hub for the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' - the technological movement that is transforming the way we live, the way we work, and the way we interact with one another."

Talking about ways in which the world's manufacturing community could help to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals 2030, Mr LI Yong, Director General of UNIDO said: "GMIS is vital to gather the necessary exchanges of ideas, experiences, best practices and policies to power inclusive and sustainable industrialization. Preparing for these changes is not just best practice, but a necessity. It is my belief that a strong focus on concrete outcomes and a visionary statement of how manufacturing has and will continue to transform our lives and this will motivate many of us to relentlessly pursuit the 2030 development goals."

Mr LI Yong added: "Successful partnerships require the dynamism and drive of the private sector; the social perspective of civil society organizations; the knowledge of academia; and the policies of the public sector, to be able to tackle the challenges of disruptive technological change."

H.E. Dr Ibrahim Saif, Jordanian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources; Joe Kaeser, Global CEO of Siemens, and Neils Caszo, President of the world's largest youth-led organization AIESEC were then engaged in a panel discussion hosted and moderated by Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs. The debate focused on the role that manufacturing can play in restoring global prosperity, and how it can support the reconstruction of economies in crises whose populations have been forced to migrate - an issue that poses a threat to global stability and peace.

Setting the scene for the Summit, Joe Kaeser said: "Digitalization is revolutionizing an industry that accounts for about 70 percent of global trade: manufacturing. This 'Fourth Industrial Revolution', or 'Industry 4.0', will have a massive impact on national economies. Productivity and the speed of innovation will rise dramatically, the weak parts of value chains will be eliminated, jobs existing there will be lost, and new jobs will be created that require advanced digital skills. There will be significant disruption. So, the challenge is this: How can we make sure that digitalization unfolds the greatest possible benefit for society as a whole? The Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit offers an excellent opportunity to discuss this issue and, yes, to shape the future of manufacturing."

His Excellency Dr Ibrahim Seif, said: "Although the Middle East is one of the richest regions globally in energy, Jordan imports 79 percent of its energy and spends 20 percent of the Kingdom's GDP on oil and gas, approximately US$7 billion annually. Surmounting energy costs pose many obstacles to the development and prosperity of Jordan, especially since the Kingdom has received successive waves of migration since 1948, and the proportion of immigrants, some of whom acquired Jordanian nationality, is almost half of the population of the Kingdom. In 2016, the population of Jordan reached 11 million, of whom 2.4 million are Syrians, half a million are Iraqis, 45,000 are Yemenis, 35,000 are Libyans, and 2 million are non-Jordanian Palestinian refugees.

"The youth in Jordan are talented and knowledgeable. However, because of the constant migrations and the high expenditure on energy, the country is unable to develop the manufacturing sector, although the basic skills can be exploited, especially in the areas of digitization and innovation. Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies offer a great opportunity for the youth in Jordan to actively contribute to global value chains, and to move towards globalization, especially if presented with the opportunity to connect with major international companies and cooperate with youth globally to develop economies," H.E. Seif, added.

Focusing on the impact that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have on jobs and industry for young people in tomorrow's economy, Neils Caszo added: "At AIESEC, we have recognized that educational institutions are not providing youth with adequate qualifications and skills that will enable them to embrace the enormous technological developments in the global economy in general, and the manufacturing sector in particular. We must break the traditional barriers between youth and those who are deeply affected by the global economic crisis and unemployment, and engage them in manufacturing activities that unleash their abilities and encourage them to contribute to the reconstruction of their economies. The Energies of youth should be directed towards building a better future for all, rather than left vulnerable to radicalism, subversive movements, violence and migration."

Partners of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit, including representatives from Founding Partners Siemens, Mubadala, and GE; Strategic Partners, Tawazun, VPS Healthcare, and ZonesCorp were also in attendance.

The inaugural Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit is being held at the Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University, UAE, until March 30, 2017. A joint initiative by the UAE Ministry of Economy and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and co-hosted with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Summit is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Summit is the world's first global gathering for the manufacturing community, bringing together decision-making leaders from governments, businesses and civil society organizations to shape a vision for the sector's future.

The Summit is a global platform for participating attendees to learn from best practices from across the world. This unprecedented global gathering will spark new ideas and set the stage for debate and action - addressing ways in which manufacturing can shape and reshape the world, integrating activities between developed and emerging markets, and delivering on social responsibility towards future generations. Leaders from the public and private sectors, along with representatives from civil society organizations, will gather to discuss global challenges within the manufacturing sector, looking specifically at six themes: technology and innovation; global value chains; skills, employment and education; sustainability and environment; infrastructure; standards, and stakeholder alignment.