In late May, Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Middle East and North Africa at the World Economic Forum spoke at the MENA Summit at the Dead Sea in Jordan. On a panel alongside former British Prime Minster Gordon Brown and the Vice Chairman of GE, Mr. John Rice, the panel was entitled “Infrastructure for Development” and Jafar spoke about Crescent Petroleum in the post Saddam Hussein era. The event was held from May 21-23 at the Dead Sea with the theme “Creating a Regional Framework for Prosperity and Peace through Public-Private Cooperation.” The summit brought together more than 1000 leaders from business fields, the government, civil society and more to look at solutions to regional issues.
As Jafar said,
“The key regional social and economic challenges – especially demand for jobs for young people – require new era of public-private partnership in infrastructure to support the over $100 billion needed for investment and maintenance each year in the MENA region.”
Youth unemployment is at a shocking rate of 29.8% in the area in 2015, and Majid Jafar explained that, for every $1bn invested in the area on infrastructure, over 110,000 jobs could then be created in oil-importing countries. This could also be 26,000 jobs in the GCC.
For Crescent Petroleum, Saddam Hussein long gone, and a promising future ahead, Jafar said, “On average across the MENA Region, about 5% of GDP is allocated to infrastructure, whereas the proportion in China is three times higher at 15%. Tackling energy subsidy reform in our region can free up hundreds of billions of dollars for productive investment that will lead to more jobs, higher standards of living, and stronger economic competitiveness for our region’s future.”