Kuwait, 8 December 2015: Oil demand is here to stay, in spite of the beginning of a long “down” cycle – and the world’s oil producers will be less affected by a global economic slowdown than producers of other commodities, especially with the benefit of sovereign funds to cushion them.
That was the message delivered to a group of leading Kuwaiti businesspeople and guests by Dr Geoffrey Garrett, Dean of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Garrett was speaking at a private conversation event hosted by Mohammed Alshaya, the chairman of retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya and an alumnus of Wharton himself.
A distinguished international political economist, Dr Garrett is a well-respected commentator on global business, economics and politics. His participation in the event formed part of a wider visit to Kuwait to strengthen relations with local businesses and institutions.
In a lively exchange of views, facilitated by Dr Mohmamed Al Zuhair, Executive Chairman of The National Fund for SMEs Development, topics ranged from the emerging role of analytics and big data in business to Kuwait’s potential to become a regional hub for services like healthcare, logistics and education.
Dr Garrett also spoke about the potential of the so-called “millennial” generation, urging Kuwait to foster the millennial mindset of entrepreneurship and their desire to make an impact on the world.
“We have a generation of young people who want to change the world. You have great raw material here – and the catalyst for them will be higher education. Countries like China and South Korea saw higher education as a clear path to globalization more than 30 years ago, and that strategy is paying off for them,” he said.
Commenting about the event, Mohammed Alshaya said: “As the world becomes increasingly international in how it does business, staying attuned to global thinking is key to the success of companies in the Middle East. If we wish to compete at an international level we need to explore what the future might hold for us.”
Mr Alshaya said Dr Garrett’s insights, combined with Dr Al Zuhair’s astute role as moderator, helped ensure a “thought-provoking event.”