2012 Business Summit Agenda

2012 US - Arab Business Summit
A U.S. - Arab Global Event
Thursday, September 13, 2012
The Union League Club, 38 East 37th Street, New York, NY

7:30AM - 8:00AM

American Museum of Natural History Central Park West at 77th Street

9:00AM - 10:00AM

This panel addresses how the current world makes a big difference for internationalization and a global strategy – and why incumbent multinationals, like the US, and emergent multinationals, like China, have fared so differently in the dire straits of the new, global(ized) world. Hear from both the Head of MENA for the World Economic Forum and four former US Ambassadors to the Arab region, and a senior advisor to the Iraqi Minister of Interior, who will provide invaluable insight on how to move the Arab world away from leaning toward China and India, and return to the US as their major partner on the global stage of commercial finance and consumer/industrial trade

11:00AM - 12:00PM

While estimates vary, a recent Ernst & Young study of Islamic funds shows assets held by investors in Muslim countries at more than US$3trillion. At the same time, the sukuk (Islamic bond equivalent) market is increasing at an average annual rate of 40 percent and is estimated to be more than US$500 billion. Non-Islamic countries are looking to capitalize on this potentially high-growth market. Hong Kong and Singapore are challenging Malaysia’s dominance in the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, London bankers are predicting that sukuk origination and issuance by European corporates and governments could have a positive impact on its current financial crisis. Yet, there are relatively few Shari'ah-compliant opportunities for investors outside the Middle East and virtually none in the US. A trading mentality is beginning to quickly emerge in the Islamic finance industry. That said, international exchanges and financial institutions have an opportunity to facilitate growth in Shari'ah investment products which can help determine how Islamic capital markets will function. This important discussion will give you a better understanding of how an offshore investment platform, which bridges Western investment management criteria and Shari'ah rules, could help the West capitalize on this potentially high-growth market.

Global Economic Drivers: Saudi Arabia's Evolving Role
12:00PM - 12:30PM

Today, Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest developing countries in the world and was recently ranked by the IMF as a top 10 high-growth economy in 2012. Saudi Arabia's expanding economy is part of a continuing national strategy built on targeted government investment, regulatory reforms and steps such as Saudi Arabia's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2005; a significant development that gives Saudi products greater access to global markets, creates jobs (the private sector now accounts for 48 percent of the Kingdom's gross domestic product) and encourages foreign investment. The IMF also ranks Saudi Arabia 12th out of 181 countries in ease of doing business. While petroleum remains an integral part of the Saudi economy (Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer and exporter of oil), the Kingdom is aggressively diversifying its economy and today produces and exports a variety of industrial goods all over the globe.

Embracing Our Common Humanity
12:30PM - 1:30PM

President Clinton served the United States for eight years during a time of unprecedented prosperity and change. Now, President Clinton is a powerful voice for progress around the world as he shares his unique insights and observations with audiences around the world. President Clinton’s public speeches describe the challenge of globalization, emphasize our growing interdependence, and point the way toward a common future based on shared goals and values.

1:30PM - 2:30PM

Whether an entrepreneur or established business, many have seen either the Arab and/or US regions become their most profitable global sales territory. Yet, even with a conservative estimate, it costs at least $166,000 to have a single sales person live and work in either the US or Arab region for six months? To leverage your investment in either region, this session will inform you how to start or grow an established presence; how to select a partner, how to create a successful joint venture; and, most importantly, how to then cash out with a clear exit strategy from Day One.

2:30PM - 3:30PM

An emerging subscale and fragmented Islamic capital market can’t afford not to leverage on the existing liquidity and infrastructure provided by the conventional Western markets. The Shari’ah practice has been to develop close substitutes for conventional capital market instruments (commercial paper, bonds, derivatives or asset-backed securitizations) and utilize conventional pricing benchmarks (LIBOR, swap rates, etc.). As long as the resulting instruments satisfy core Shari’ah requirements, which typically eliminates elements of riba (unlawful advantage by way of excess or deferment) and gharar (uncertainty, risk and speculation), Islamic capital has the potential of being developed as a single, unified capital market that can become a benchmark for the standards on which the various domestic and regional capital markets are based. In this session, come learn “how to” structure Islamic securities that qualify for foreign capital investments under Shari’ah standards.

3:30PM - 4:30PM

Rapid economic development and tremendous changes in lifestyle have resulted in less exercise, more smoking, unhealthy nutrition and increased obesity in both the US and Arab world. As a result, chronic diabetes is expected to rise worldwide from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030. According to global data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the Arab world will be among the highest prevalence for diabetes in the world. In the Arab world, 9.1% of the population (33 million) now has diabetes. This number is expected to double with estimates that there are as many as 19 million people still undiagnosed. This session will examine “how to” develop and align the financial and organizational support to better manage chronic diseases (including diabetes, cardiac care and lung disease) and reduce the cost of care delivery by utilizing established Western health systems to be financed by the development of a venture capital market in Arab healthcare.

4:30PM - 5:30PM

Islamic banking is viewed as one of the fastest growing segments of the Islamic Financial Services Industry (in excess on $1 trillion in Shari’ah compatible assets under management). It has experienced double-digit growth, spurred mostly by the licensing of new banks (largely in local markets), the establishment of Islamic windows and subsidiaries by major international banks, and partial or full conversion of conventional banks into Islamic banks. The goal of this panel session will be to "demystify" Islamic finance to better understand it as a tremendous opportunity in which to participate and, most importantly, profit. Specific topics will review: 1) the growth of Islamic capital markets; 2) demand for Islamic investments on both sides of the US Arab region (e.g. issuing Sukuk instruments); 3 growth of Islamic banking, especially post Arab spring and attendant implications; 4) understanding what exactly is an "Islamic financial center" and how to best facilitate Islamic finance. In short, this panel will provide the necessary "take away" insight on how to present projects for their potential economic value that would be of interest to Arab institutional investors according to Islamic law that supports local and/or foreign financial investments.

7:30AM - 8:00AM

Union League Club 38 East 37th Street & Park Avenue

8:00AM - 9:00AM

Job creation, fostering creativity, promoting cultural understanding and generating investment opportunities are just some of the benefits that result from connecting Western filmmaking and video game companies with the Arab world. The swift proliferation of smart phones, tablets and high speed internet has dramatically increased the potential worldwide audience of digital entertainment. A powerful film can give voice to significant issues and create worldwide awareness while at the same time being honored for artistic achievement. Video games can bring players, youth and international online communities together like no other medium. Several countries in the Arab world have already taken steps to attract western filmmakers and video game companies. So come and hear from those who know what it takes to be successful

9:00AM - 10:00AM

It was the most talked about phenomenon that took the world by a revolution. "Social Media" was the conventional name that categorized the global birth of digital mobile media during the Arab Spring. The new world Skyped, Tweeted and posted on Facebook their opinions, beliefs and values while traditional media remained the "trusted" choice of the older generation who shares the hope of tomorrow with the "technology" of yesterday. Overnight the world has become smaller and no one is truly out of reach. Whatever the medium of choice, “sharing” is the common link between traditional and new. With everyone online and the Arab world being the only current safe house from the global economic meltdown, the possibilities are limitless and the advantage for economic growth has never been greater between our regions than with the use of "blended" marketing campaigns. Connectivity is the name of the game and the medium is the message. Nowhere else is either played better or has the opportunity to better create business opportunities and/or growth trends than what lies between the Arab and US regions of the world. So come hear and leave "connected" to each other.

10:00AM - 11:00AM

This panel is based on how US-Arab businesses, at all levels, must work together in the context of a globalized world. The global world is no longer simply a source of new markets or cost factor savings; it is a source of innovation. To survive and prosper today, both regions must expand their focus beyond the traditional views of their immediate boundaries and truly develop a collaborative partnership that encompasses all aspects of being global partners capable of developing and delivering a strategic value proposition that takes advantage of regional integration to create intrinsic value for each other and the world. The panel examines the “how to” regarding the concepts and frameworks used to create a plan to address the challenge and the management of global integration of multinational corporations in a multipolar world

11:00AM - 12:00PM

All in all, the evolving world order is seeking a new economic and political equilibrium. More than ever, a new and certain equilibrium is needed to deal successfully with the need to promote a global economic order that will result in a more evenly distributed prosperity. An effective global order is needed to address challenges presented by population pressures, resource depletion, global climate change, etc. In addition there is emerging an increasingly globalized frame of reference for political, social, and cultural discourse. Simply stated, the need for a finely tuned international and intercultural understanding is without historical precedent. At the same time, opportunities for student participation in programs that serve to promote intercultural understanding are sorely wanting. Traditional student exchange programs, which remain a viable mechanism for preparing future leaders to function in a world that requires effective cross-cultural communication, cannot meet all needs in this regard. For this reason, the call for an increase in attention to, and opportunity for, international and cross-cultural educational experiences has never been greater. That said, it is the responsibility of business and government to understand the need for their support, which is the objective of this session

1:30PM - 2:30PM

Just how limited are our fossil fuel reserves? Some estimates say our fossil fuel reserves will be depleted within 50 years, while others say it will be 100-120 years. The fact is that neither one of these projections is very appealing for a global community that is so heavily dependent on fossil fuels to meet basic human needs. The bottom line: We are going to run out of fossil fuels for energy and we have no choice but to prepare for the new age of energy production since, most certainly, human demands for energy will not decrease. Despite the promise of alternative energy sources — more appropriately called renewable energy — collectively they provide only about 7 percent of the world’s energy needs. This means that both the US and Arab world must combine our technology and natural resources to solve our global energy needs from alternative energy sources. To understand what the future holds in the renewable energy space, and determine the ultimate impact it will have on our dependence on depleting fossil fuels, come and hear the opinions from the experts during this critically important panel discussion.

2:30PM - 3:30PM

According to the International Monetary Fund, the Arab world is faced with the challenge of creating 100 million new jobs by 2020. Encouraging entrepreneurs to start new companies is one way to tackle this problem and promote job creation. Governments have begun concerted efforts to enact laws to create more supportive environments for those starting businesses, and seed and mentorship funds are cropping up across the region to provide support. Where and how the US can encourage entrepreneurship through "knowledge transfer" is critical to helping Arab governments generate jobs in the private sector where the model of employment in the public sector is not sustainable. In fact, Reuters data shows that regional Arab economies must grow at a pace of 8 percent per year and create at least eight million jobs annually in the area stretching from North Africa to Pakistan just to maintain current unemployment levels, a problem that cannot be solved by creating more government positions.