Going Local – the true power of partnerships
In Wikinomics, a book much applauded by the business world, the authors Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams talk about a “new kind of business that is emerging,” a new business order that “opens its doors to the world; co-innovates with everyone, especially customers; shares resources… and behaves… as a global firm.”
Today, ‘going global’ is a given and with the advent of cloud computing and business process outsourcing, the barriers of time and space too have crumbled.
To that end, the buzzwords, are partnership and co-innovation. Their importance cannot be overstated, especially in the context of the Middle East region, which has fostered some of the world’s most significant public private partnerships over the past decades.
Following the impact of the global financial slowdown in 2009, the season of introspection that followed has seen most governments and businesses in the Middle East reexamine their model of growth. To the credit of most of the Arab world, the economies showed considerable resilience, while continuing to focus infrastructure development. The region has had one of the smartest and swiftest response, which has helped it weather the crisis.
As the new decade dawns, the region has to meet the dual challenges of a rising population and economic diversification. These two factors have not only exponentially increased the demand for power and water in the face of dwindling resources, the region is also faced with the task of providing meaningful employment, affordable healthcare and education to a growing class of youth.
To support the region’s ambitions, we must also work towards meeting the region’s energy needs as well as empowering its youth through knowledge sharing, and nurturing a new generation of leaders through innovative management training.
The answer is a multifaceted approach with efficiency at its core. The business model for all industries – from energy to aviation to healthcare and education – has to be enhanced by leveraging advances in technology, and by promoting a culture of public private partnerships.
And what is critical now is to attain tangible results through these sustainable development initiatives. Sustainability must be measurable and accountable.
We are also seeing a growing awareness for sustainability in the region’s energy sector, with an increased emphasis on renewables. This is not in response to the global financial crisis, but as part of a visionary policy to diversify power generation sources to meet the growing requirements for power and water in the region and fuel the region’s continued infrastructure growth.
The increased emphasis on expanding infrastructure must also include investments towards a better healthcare future for the region. A healthy and educated population is crucial to the achievement of a sustainable society. As the region works towards a cleaner environment, it must also work at reducing costs and improving access to quality healthcare for its population.
GE, driven by its commitment to innovation and the Middle East, will continue to be alongside the region, on its way to progress and sustainable growth. That, we believe, is the true power of partnerships
Written by Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO, GE in the Middle East & Africa