Office of the Spokesman
December 11, 2004
Accomplishments of the First Forum For Future, Rabat 2004
"... the Forum for the Future hopes to provide a setting for an informal, flexible, open and inclusive dialogue, devoted to strengthening democracy and the participation of civil society, to developing skills training, and to encouraging the growth of modern economies that generate wealth and that are well integrated into the global economy." Released on December 11, 2004
Rabat Chairsí Summary
"We share a confidence in the creativity and talent of the peoples of the region. The region is full of talented, hopeful peopleÖ We must rely on this shared confidence in people to make participation in public and political life more inclusive in every country."
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
The first Forum for the Future convened on December 11, 2004 in Rabat, Morocco. The Forum for the Future is a partnership among the countries of the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region, the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized democracies, and others, all united around a common agenda that advances the universal values of human dignity, democracy, economic opportunity, and social justice. In Rabat, Foreign, Finance, and Economy Ministers from 28 countries gathered to discuss and develop collaborative efforts to support political, economic, and social reform in the BMENA region. Civil society and business representatives also participated in the Forum.
Forum participants agreed to expand their already strong cooperation in support of the regionís reform efforts, and endorsed the following actions:
- Democracy Assistance Dialogue: The Dialogueís participants will focus in 2005 on, among other things, providing electoral assistance, improving the role of women, and advancing relations between the regionís governments and civil society, through programs and projects supporting democratization and public participation.
- Literacy: To advance the regionís efforts to halve the illiteracy rate over the next decade and improve education, especially for girls and women, Forum participants will develop a literacy plan of action for the region and convene a meeting of Education Ministers in May 2005 in Jordan.
- International Finance: Recognizing that the private sector is the engine of economic growth and job creation, Forum participants established the International Finance Corporationís Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa facility to support small and medium-sized enterprises. They have already contributed over $60 million of the $100 million goal for the facility. Forum participants also welcomed the proposal for a Network of Funds to improve the effectiveness of official financing in the region.
- Entrepreneurship: Morocco and Bahrain, working with other Forum participants, will establish two entrepreneurship centers in 2005 to provide the regionís young people with opportunities and skills they will need to succeed professionally.
- Microfinance: Working with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Forum participants have established a microfinance consultative group and will open a technical hub and microfinance training center in 2005 in Jordan. CGAP is also working with Yemen and other countries in the region on developing microfinance projects to assist the regionís small entrepreneurs, especially women.
The Forum participants agreed to meet in Bahrain in November 2005 to review progress on these and other reform efforts and continue expanding their partnership in support of the regionís political, economic, and social progress.
- Investment: The Investment Task Force, a private sector, CEO-led group, will focus on increasing investment in the region to spur economic growth and create jobs. The Task Force will work with the regionís governments and the OECD to remove impediments to investment, including those related to governance.