Expert panel explores strategies for shaping the future economy at GBF LATAM 2022

Uncertain times and new Covid-related challenges have created new opportunities for businesses in the UAE and Latin America boost their competitiveness, enhance efficiency and collaborate with public sector stakeholders, according to a panel of industry experts speaking earlier today at the Global Business Forum Latin America (GBF) 2022 in Dubai.

A thought-provoking panel session entitled Shaping the Future Economy was joined by Faisal bin Juma Belhoul, Founder and Managing Partner at Ithmar Capital, from the UAE; Jesus Cepeda, Founder and CEO of OS City, from Mexico; and Santiago Peña, Board Director of Paraguay’s BASA Bank.

 “We are moving into a digital world and we must work to transform the way we do things. It may not be enough to simply replace paper transactions with digital ones; we need to change whole parts of the bureaucracy. This is why I encourage people from the government sector to go work in the private sector, and vice versa,” Peña said. “What is lacking in Latin America is further integration – integration among ourselves and integration with the international economy.”

For his part, Faisal bin Juma Belhoul agreed that there is a need to bring the public and private sectors closer together, noting that, “In Dubai, the Dubai Chambers fulfil that role in representing the private sector and communicating its interests and concerns to the leadership. The level of empowerment that our leaders have granted to the Chambers – most notably in the recent decision to form three specialised entities – creates active and real-time dialogue between the private and public sectors.”

“Dubai has proven its ability to cope with that in tough times, pivot, and create opportunities from challenges,” Belhoul added. “We are lucky our leadership had that foresight, and the way the UAE handled the pandemic reflects this vision. A mere two years since the beginning of the pandemic, business confidence in the UAE is at a record high.”

On a similar note, Jesus Cepeda said: “We are truly living through a technological revolution and if we take a look at history, we can see that tech revolutions are always followed by economic revolutions – and that is where we are in Latin America. I believe institutions in Latin America will be continuously tapping into advanced technologies to build their economies. Statistics suggest that 60% of governments in the world are going to triple their digital services in the next year. Imagine if governments can build such a system that is interoperable with the private sector, and build a network of digital economies. I think this is where we are heading.”

“This kind of space is a must,” Cepeda added, referring to GBF LATAM. “We need to connect and share ideas.”

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the two-day GBF Latin America is themed ‘Towards a Resilient Future’ and aims to promote dialogue between business leaders along three main themes: ‘Reform,’ ‘Empower’ and ‘Grow.’

GBF Latin America forms part of Dubai Chamber’s flagship Global Business Forum series, which was launched in 2013 to provide Dubai’s business community with new opportunities and strengthen the emirate’s position as a global business hub, a dynamic centre of commerce, and a gateway to lucrative new markets.