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15 January 2018

H.H. Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Inaugurates UAE Public Policy Forum 2018

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, the 2nd UAE Public Policy Forum (UAE PPF 2018) kicked off today (Monday, January 15, 2018), inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF).

The two-day Forum is organised by the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), the first research and teaching institution focusing on governance and public policy in the Arab world, and takes place on January 15-16, 2018, at the Dubai World Trade Centre under the theme “The Future of Partnerships with the Private Sector”.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed toured the Forum facilities where he was introduced to MBRSG’s most prominent initiatives. Accompanied by H.E. Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami Chairman of MBRSG’s Board of Directors, and H.E. Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri, MBRSG’s Executive President. H.H. then launched the Dubai Policy Review, a periodical journal that seeks to maximise visibility of MBRSG’s research, widen its audience and expand its impact on public policy on a local, regional and global levels.

In his opening address, H.E. Al Qatami said: “The UAE has always stood out for its strong and fruitful relations between the public and private sectors, beginning with the establishment of the Union, and through the consecutive stages of growth all the way to the current renaissance spearheaded by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President; H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai; H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and Their Highnesses, Rulers of the emirates.”

“With this close attention from the leadership, our country has perfected its PPP model with a body of laws and regulations that paved the way for expanding investment, creating incentives and boosting competitiveness,” H.E. Al Qatami added. “This, in turn, has multiplied opportunities for cooperation and set the stage for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of governance and risk management, improving the quality of services in the process.”

“For PPPs to succeed and contribute to sustainable development, the public and private sectors must work together starting as early as the planning and design phase, in addition to promoting cooperation, and coordinating with all stakeholders when setting legislation,” H.E. concluded.

For his part, H.E. Dr Al Marri said: “Guided by the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, partnership between the public and private sectors has taken centre stage in the UAE as economic development plans are rolled out. This collaboration offers an ideal platform for government success and a catalyst for further development across sectors; it creates a climate conducive of accelerated progress and prosperity by involving the private sector in the implementation and design of government services.”

“The UAE has become a regional role model for successful public-private partnerships with its long-term vision and strategies, bringing together government and private sector to develop some of the best infrastructure in the world. We rely on a robust system of transparent legislation and regulations to attract investments from around the world to the UAE, which has become a popular global hub,” H.E. added.

“We can attest to the UAE’s popularity when we witness, first-hand, this great turnout on day one of the 2nd UAE Public Policy Forum,” H.E. Dr Al Marri concluded, “especially when we welcome representatives and officials from the government and private sectors, who have come from around the world to discuss the prospects of private-public cooperation.”

Day one of the Forum saw 45 speakers address the audience in three panel discussions and four scientific sessions (“Knowledge Hubs”), which focused on six main themes: Identifying and evaluating opportunities for public-private partnerships; creating an enabling environment for PPPs; discussing visions and strategies to improve partnerships and increase effectiveness; performance evaluation; using smart technologies and innovation to the benefit of PPPs; and developing policies to govern public-private partnerships in the future.

A roundtable discussion titled “Benchmarking for Public Private Partnerships from the UK Experience” brought together Lord Francis Maude, Former UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment; Shaun Johnson, Legal Counsel at ACWA Holding Saudi Arabia; Kate Orviss, Pinsent Masons; Helen Selden, National Foundation for Education Research – UK; and Roderic Gillespie, Cambridge International Examination. 

The second session, meanwhile, explored the subject of PPPs as a “Catalyst for Reform or Commercialization of a Public Service” with Muneer Ferozie, Regional Manager and MENA Head at IFC’s PPPs and Privatization Financial Advisory; Eyad Al-Kourdi, General Manager for the Southern Gulf (UAE and Oman) at MasterCard; Stephen Knight, PPP Legal Specialist at Allen and Overy Law Firm; Dr Alawi A. Alsheikh-Ali, Dean at the College of Medicine of the MBR University of Medicine and Health Sciences; and Dr Clara Morgan, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UAE University. 

The Third and final roundtable of the day brought together H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy; H.E. AbdulMohsin Ibrahim Younes, CEO of Rail Agency at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA); and H.E. Abdulrahman Al Saleh, Director General at the Dubai Government’s Department of Finance, to discuss “Constraints, Challenges and Prospects of Public-Private Partnerships”.`

The Forum’s first day also included four concurrent scientific sessions or “Knowledge Hubs”: “PPPs: From Early Childhood to Tertiary Education”, “PPPs in Practice: Dubai and KSA”, “Implementing and Monitoring PPPs”, and a “PPP Executive Seminar”.
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