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Privatization Is Not a Threat to the State
Partnership between private and public sectors can help bridge the gap between Arab governments and citizens, says Prince Faisal Bin Salman, chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) and a co-chair of the Arab Strategy Forum 2006. He was speaking during a forum panel session on “Degrees of Separation: Toward Inclusiveness in the Arab World” that discussed the increasing impo
Wednesday, December 6,2006 00:00
by K.T. Abdurabb, Arab News

Partnership between private and public sectors can help bridge the gap between Arab governments and citizens, says Prince Faisal Bin Salman, chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) and a co-chair of the Arab Strategy Forum 2006.

He was speaking during a forum panel session on “Degrees of Separation: Toward Inclusiveness in the Arab World” that discussed the increasing importance of providing effective participation channels for Arab citizens.

Prince Faisal said that the “Privatization is not a threat to the state, rather it is complementary to it.”

He gave the example of the successful partnership between investment funds and government in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Faisal said that the approach and views of the new generation also need to be taken into consideration when dealing with any kind of change. He said that contrary to popular belief, polls in Saudi Arabia show that most young people are quite conservative which, he said, would be reflected in their ideological approach to change.

Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for federal national council affairs, said that the Arab world is characterized by a number of success stories that need to be matched at the political level.

“Without political balance, socio-economic development will not be sustainable in the Arab world,” he said.

However, he warned that although reform is essential to achieve sustainable growth and development there are risks involved in moving too rapidly with political reforms. He said that any political initiative of integration has to be put in the wider context of the Arab world. “Rapid action on the political front might have negative consequences as the cultural and intellectual trends are slow at adapting to change at the Arab level,” he said

“We are facing enormous challenges but this should not be an excuse for political stagnation.”

Saadeddin Ibrahim, director, Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, Egypt said that political stagnation in the Arab world is the consequence of regimes remaining in power without the will of the people. This has resulted in tyrants and external oppressors gaining power in the region.

He stressed the need to involve intermediate organizations and civil bodies to bridge the gap between citizens and government.

Speaker Amr Hamzawy, senior associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, US, summing up the opinion of the speakers, said: “We are witnessing a great dynamism in the Arab region with the political and social arenas showing signs of hope that can help bridge the gap between governments and citizens.”


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