The 4th edition of the bi-annual World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum (WEIF 2022) opened in Dubai today, suggesting entrepreneurship, innovation and investment in a post-pandemic recovery to be important to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The form states that COVID-19 has severely affected the performance of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs around the world. For this reason, there is an urgent need for the government and the private sector to adapt quickly to the changing market conditions in line with the digital transformation.
The epidemic has caused unprecedented disruptions in the global economy and labour market, with supply chain closures and lockdowns forcing many businesses to close, with MSMEs being the hardest hit.
UAE Entrepreneur and State Minister for SME Affairs Dr Ahmed Belhaul told the forum that the UAE has invested heavily in healthcare over the past two years, which not only allows SMEs to operate but also helps boost tourism in the country.
“Ease of doing business is fundamental for the large part of the SMEs entrepreneurs. Without the confidence and support of the governments, they will not be able to survive,” he said.
“We have learnt quickly that this is far more important than direct financial support. I have had regular meetings with the entrepreneurs, and I constantly hear them asking me, not for funding, not for finance, but for access to markets and access to big multi-national companies.”
Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), touched on the role that small, medium and emerging enterprises play in achieving sustainable development goals.
He said that the UAE gives us hope and confidence in recovery from the “health and economic pandemics” that the world is going through these days, noting that these pandemics remind us of the “lean days” that the world went through during the years 2007-2008, as a result of the global economic crisis.
Dr Mohieldin touched on the regional situation with regard to the Arab economy as a whole, praising the Arab countries, especially the Gulf states, which he said had “taken the reasons for science and increased investments in education, health care, the technological revolution, as well as their interest in issues of sustainability and climate change.”
He added that these investments gave it the opportunity to persevere, grow and develop, expressing his hope that all Arab countries would follow this example and invest in these areas.