DOHA----April 23, 2012----- Services are no longer just a sector, they are everywhere. They are the life-blood, the embedded energy and the invisible engine that drives the development of all other sectors of the 21st Century Economy due to the rapid growth of services and the newly formed knowledge-based services, the Internet, mobile networks and their creative applications in the economic and social sectors, according to Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org).
The opening session was chaired by HE Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari Qatar's Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage who is also UNCTAD XIII president. Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of UNCTAD and HE Ambassador Ransford Smith, deputy secretary general of Commonwealth Secretariat also delivered speeches.
Delivering his keynote speech at the Global Services Forum held at Qatar National Convention Center in conjunction with the 13th conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) organized jointly by TAG-Org, UNCTAD and the Commonwealth Secretary, Abu-Ghazaleh said that acquiring the ”unforbidden fruit” of knowledge and using it to provide services to our fellow-beings is at the heart of our quest for development of our countries.
He added:" We have seen that the new service economy is one of the key factors in the quest of developing countries for development in the 21st Century. The evidence is clear: those developing countries who have managed to plug into the networks of the global service economy have performed well even in times of crisis."
Abu-Ghazaleh stated that this Forum is very important for services in the Arab world.
"We shall witness in Doha the establishment of the "Arab Coalition of Services". We salute our counterparts, the coalition of service industries from all over the world who assembled here and applaud UNCTAD for its leadership role and its unlimited support, and the State of Qatar for making this happen," he said.
Abu-Ghazaleh tackled some statistics saying:" Based on US data, by the year 2020, 80% of college education will happen online and college campuses will be transformed into a different kind of institution. At TAG-Org we are doing the same with most of our client services, educational programs and publications, including launching TAGIPEDIA, the comprehensive virtual Arabic content encyclopedia."
He also announced the launch of the first corporate global virtual business university of its kind. The "University of TAG" which according to Abu-Ghazaleh will offer co-branded, accredited, multidisciplinary, blended, academic, professional, vocational, and language innovative learning.
"A quality global e-campus university which provides virtual classroom education for every student on Earth. A cutting edge university for the future knowledge era," he said.
He concluded by saying:" I urge governments and business to work hand in hand in a positive-sum partnership, while fully respecting their respective spheres and roles, to take full advantage of the new opportunities offered by the new service economy for growth and job-creation for reducing poverty and for shaping a better future for all."
Abu-Ghazaleh headed the session on Services, Productivity and Competitiveness which witnessed the participation of the following panelists: HE Mr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa, HE Mr. Leketekete Ketso, Lesotho's Minister of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing, HE Ms. Elvira Nabiullina, Russia's Minister of Economic Development and Trade and Mr. Andrew McCredie, Executive Director of Australian Services Roundtable in addition to a host of ministers.
The panelists discussed the strategic role of services in development, services and business perspectives and services and employment.
The event is supported by Arab NGO Network for Development, China Association of Trade in Services, Caribbean Network of Services Coalitions, the Australian Services Roundtable, the European Services Forum (ESF) and other associations of services industries and hosted ministers, high level policy makers, trade negotiators and business leaders.