By Onome Amawhe

Dubai has emerged as a favorite destination for meetings, conferences and exhibitions and a slew of global top-notch events. The city has witnessed a plethora of personalities flocking the cities infrastructure for international standard events.  The infrastructure which includes transportations, hotels, restaurants and other facilities are rapidly expanding along with quality service standard for visitors.

One of the key factors is Dubai’s strategic location between the Far East and Europe; making it the economic center for Asia, Africa, Europe, and Russia. Recognizing the region’s growing appeal among business and leisure tourists, The International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), ranked Dubai as one of the world’s top destination for business events— an achievement which suggests that the emirate is on track to reach its goal of luring 20 million tourists a year by 2020. 

James Magee

The ICCA is the most dependable and consistent benchmark for how a destination is performing in terms of hosting international association meetings and events. Global Events Management is one the leading events company in the UAE. Recognizing the significance of the business event industry and the various growth facets each event brings to the city, GEM, over 30 years has become the established host of a broad range of events from niche trade shows to major international event such as the World CEO Forum (WCF), which is in its third year. 

The WCF is an important business event for professionals in almost every industry all across the world. The caliber of attendees is high – often key decision makers.  As well as offering engaging content and outstanding speakers, the forum provide an essential networking venue for  global business executives and has  achieved a reputation for attracting serious  C-level hotel executives.

Spearheading Global Event Management Company and the World CEO Forum is Chairman, James Magee, who recognizes that business events such as the WCF accelerate the regions journey towards becoming a knowledge-sharing economy and its goal of welcoming 20 million visitors each year by 2020.

What is the World CEO Forum all about ?

The World CEO Forum is a gathering of the most influential business leaders from all over the world. The  key focus of the business event is on creating new opportunities/ facilitating business whilst sharing thoughts on case studies with internationally recognized CEOs some of the world’s leading companies. It’s also the hub for  people with real-life experience and knowledge. Covering everything from Dubai’s  Expo 2020 and its numerous business opportunities, one of the goals of the WCF is to facilitate actionable takeaways to enhance business in the UAE.

How will the WCF be different from other events of its kind?

A unique selling point of the WCF is in its ability to practically engage in corporate matchmaking , helping companies make the right connections. GEM has been in the UAE where we have been facilitating high level business connections for the past 33 years.  Our vast network ensures that we have delegates from all over the world attending.

What will be the theme of this edition of the forum?

The main theme is the same as the last 2, (it is the 3rd World CEO Forum we have staged in Dubai), and that is, Connecting business people, business development, knowledge exchange and lots of fun networking.

Are there certain topics you foresee dominating discussions?

Technology, Future Cities, Communications, Telecoms, The Internet, 5G. Future Energy, Sustainable energy, the price of oil, the alternatives, electric vehicles, smart cities, AI and how this might effect the workforce, training, recruitment, the future of the planets water and its value, the future of food and how organic can take on and destroy Bauer and Monsata by funding and encouraging farming in naturally fertile lands like Africa and Asia.   The CEO’s changing role, the need to open trade agreements, not stifle them.   We try to keep it none political, but I am guessing Mr. Trump might be one of the topics of conversation

What do you expect the impact of the WCF to be like?

When business leaders get together great things happen so  the impact we expect  will be closer business relations amongst attending CEO’s and that includes  co-operations, joint ventures, partners, mergers, acquisitions – everything is on the table. Because politicians rarely get it right, the kind of dramatic change we anticipate can only be driven by business leaders.

What’s the reason for choosing Dubai as the location for the event? 

Dubai is a great business events hub. it is where East Meets West and a great place to do business. Given that we’ve been in this market for 33 years, we have been able to build a strong network of C-Suite executive contacts in the UAE and the event is going to leverage on all these and more.

To what extent will deliberations made at the WCF help the current crisis some parts of the world is facing?

Business leaders have the power to change the World, they may not have realised to what extent yet!

Business leaders control trade, currencies are weakened or strengthened by International trade and trade relationships help create peace.  Every 8 years, (sometimes 4), this changes in the USA and one party spends the next 8 years, (hopefully 4 or less), trying to undo what the previous administration has done, (or not done), – This affects the whole World.   The Forum will offer examples of what the business leaders can do to impact and change this.

Who are those CEOs really championing the world economy in the global arena?

We believe Jack Ma, Jeff Bezo, and any truly International organisation, but the SME’s who venture into the International trade must not be neglected.   We believe the future champions will be from Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East, but Europe and the America’s will always be very important.

How has the behaviour of  leaders in government and business aligned with what the world is trying to accomplish within the sphere of global trade?

‘Without realising it Trump has made the entire World watch, witness and question the self centered, short term protectionism, selfishness, pettiness, Xenophobia, racism, far right supremacist that he has highlighted.  This inspires, this motivates, this make people passionate – this causes people to rebel, rise up and fight against these decision and effect change.  The people – the business leaders will be the change, the consumer decides what to buy and the future trade is decided by them.  This topic will be hotly debated at the forum.

What are the expectations for the forthcoming WCF?

Exciting new business connections for all who attend, more International Trading partnerships formed, joint ventures created, partnerships agreed, mergers instigated, acquisitions identified.  Investments made, valuable knowledge shared, thought provoking topics discussed and goals agreed to effect change.

I would like to say that helping to achieve global peace and harmony amongst all mankind is one of our main goals, we are all one race – the human race, but sadly – wars are rarely started by business people.

That does not mean we won’t try!


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