Category Archives: Socioeconomics

Panel Discussion on Lebanon – Strengths and Weaknesses of the Civil Society

civil societyIn the context of the visit of a French diplomatic delegation from the Strategic Planning Unit[1], NGC organized in Beirut an informal panel discussion on the current situation in Lebanon with representatives of the Media, Cultural and Entrepreneurial sectors.

The participants gathered on December 21st in Altcity, a social space designed to support Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Lebanon. The discussion revolved around identifying key strengths and weaknesses of the Lebanese society in the face of current political, security and economic challenges. Continue reading

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Beyond Fikr 12: a Strategic Initiative on Academic Employability in the Arab World

HRH-Prince-Khalid

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Makkah Governor and ATF chairman

In his closing remarks, Fikr 12 Executive Director Hamad Abdullah Al Ammari announced the Arab Thought Foundation’s resolve to launch two strategic initiatives to enable job creation in the Arab World.

The first initiative aims at setting up a strategy to facilitate investments and create jobs in the region. The second Pilot initiative aims at ranking Arab universities’ employability (i.e. graduates’ ability to find appropriate job opportunities) in three different countries: Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Morocco.

This project, based on in-depth research by NGC and designed in close collaboration with the ATF, would represent an important contribution to better matching graduates’ skills and labor market needs, thus helping reduce Youth unemployment.

The importance of Culture, mindset and Education to help solve the tragedy of Youth unemployment was one of the key results of the special Fikr 12 report on Job creation conducted by PwC[1]. The need to reform Higher Education was highlighted throughout the Conference by political leaders, members of the private sector as well as researchers.

Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Ibrahim Saif said the Middle East must ensure that “the region produces not only an educated, but an employable generation.”

According to Waleed Al-Banawi, chairman and founder, JISR, Saudi Arabia: “The system of education prevailing in the Arab nations is producing thousands of graduates providing them with only theoretical knowledge. Instead, the graduates coming out of the Arab universities must be equipped with soft skills such as communication and analytical abilities.”

Marwan Iskandar, economy expert from Lebanon, stressed the need to enhance education levels in the region and update curricula to meet the job requirements in the market. to read more on the Conference’s discussions, check here.

More to come soon on this ambitious initiative!


[1] 86% of the surveyed population considers that raising education levels is very important to improve youth unemployment.

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NGC Special Report: How can we help Arab Entrepreneurs?

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NGC was honored, as a Knowledge Partner of the Arab Thought Foundation, to plan and moderate the Fikr 12 workshop on “Entrepreneurship and Start ups: from individual achievement to collective success” (Ritz Carlton Dubai, 5th December 2013) with the valuable participation of distinguished guests representing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Arab world:

H.E. Mr. Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO, Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (“Dubai SME”), United Arab Emirates
Dr. Khalid bin Othman Al-Yahya, Managing Director, Accenture Management Consulting, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Mr. Eyhab AlHajj, Co-Founder, Managing Director, Prosper, Sultanate of Oman
Mr. Fadi Bizri, Managing Director, Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program, Lebanese Republic
Mr. Ziad Mabsout, Financial Consultant and Analyst, Lebanese Republic

Following a brief presentation, NGC co-founder, Issam al Khatib, moderated a lively session based on Q&A with the speakers and the public to better define obstacles to entrepreneurship in the Arab countries and identify priority reforms.
Continue reading

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Can Entrepreneurs save the Arab World?

The incredible media buzz around Chris Schroeder’s bookStartup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East” is, per se, a very telling fact. A new positive narrative on the MENA region is in the making: in the gloomy Arab winter of the failed revolutions, a bright glimmer of hope is emerging; despite everything, a new generation of daring entrepreneurs is carving out a future for the region.

The heroic figure of the individual rising up against all obstacles – institutions, conflicts, repression…- seems to satisfy simultaneously the liberalism of westerners, the orientalism of regional connoisseurs, Arab’s dignity and the need for international organizations to circumvent failing/”unfriendly” state institutions.

However, this opportune “positive thinking” on the Arab world entails a number of implicit assumptions that must be analyzed and questioned. In the context of the upcoming Fikr 12 Conference on “Enabling Job Creation in the Arab World” (Dubai, 4-5th December 2013), we would like to explore these assumptions.
Continue reading

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NGC Special Report – Making Sense of Brazilian Protests

Dancing Shadows on the Brazilian Congress

Dancing Shadows on the Brazilian Congress

NGC is proud to share with you its latest Special Report on the protests in Brazil.

We happened to be in Sao Paulo in June 2013 for a month-long research mission, when the protests against the bus fare hike broke out.

We decided to try to make sense of this historical upheaval, mobilizing our two-year experience in the field of Public Healthcare in a favela of Rio and interviewing Brazilians from the Public, Private and Third-sector Organizations in Sao Paulo, Rio and Brasilia.

This report is but a small contribution to a larger discussion that is just beginning, let us know your thoughts and share with us your analysis!

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Video Release of the NCF e-health Pilot in Rio

NGC is proud to present the video it produced for the New Cities Foundation (NCF) Pilot in Rio. Many thanks to all those who helped us and participated in this video.

Check and share!!

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The Final Report of the NCF e-health Pilot in Rio is Out!

UntitledToday is a special day for us. After almost two years of hard work side by side with the New Cities Foundation, we are proud to share with you the  final report:  “Urban E-health Project in Rio”  in English and Portuguese.

Together with the Municipality of Rio, GE, Cisco, the University of State of Rio (UERJ) and the teams of the Santa Marta Family Clinic, we have designed and implemented a new way to leverage e-health technologies in the field of Primary Healthcare.

Thanks to a GE e-health kit, the medical teams were able to bring healthcare to the houses of the most vulnerable patients and perform an accurate and almost instantaneous diagnosis.

This resulted in substantial cost savings for the public healthcare system, a better in-home experience for patients and for the medical teams and helped lift barriers to access healthcare in an underprivileged community.

All of this would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of each and every member of the NCF e-health Task Force, in particular the teams of the Family Clinic. Our local coordinator, Rosalie, played a critical role in making this project a success. Continue reading

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Upcoming Short Documentary on the NCF m-health Pilot in Rio

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Upon the request of the New Cities Foundation (NCF), we have been working hard over the past few weeks on a short documentary project about the mobile health Pilot in Santa Marta (Rio).

Together with NCF, Rosalie, our local coordinator in Rio, and Marcelo, a gifted documentary director from Rio with extensive experience in underprivileged communities, we started brainstorming on the best way to tell the story of the project and convey its human dimension.

Today, we are thrilled to share with you some pictures of the making off. Follow our guide, Julio the nurse, who knows the ins and outs of Santa Marta and has been an enthusiastic participant in the implementation of the mobile health project. For more on the project, check the NCF website.

More coming soon!

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Climate Change in the Arab World (2) – A Call for Action

Terrace farming in Yemen dating back to the 3rd Millennium BC

Terrace farming in Yemen dating back to the 3rd Millennium BC

Part 2 of our article on Climate Change in the Arab World highlights solutions and urgent actions needed to start adapting to climate change in the region.

WATERSTOP WASTING!

Arab countries are located in a very arid region with the lowest freshwater resource endowment in the world. Fast demographic growth and climate change will dramatically increase the already severe water gap of the MENA region. Continue reading

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Climate Change in the Arab world: How much worse can it get?

aridI remember witnessing a surreal scene during an international Forum in Northern Europe, in 2011. A group of young Arab pro-democracy actors, heroes of the day, had been gathered for lunch break to meet with one of the Forum leaders. They were duly reminded of the importance of protecting the environment and asked to start promoting ASAP a “green agenda” for their countries. The Arab heroes, slightly taken by surprise, promised politely to do so.

How can you be so disconnected from the realities and preoccupations of the Arab peoples and be so right at the same time? Continue reading

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