Virtual Arab Regional Workshop: Investing in the SDGs through SSC & TrC Beyond COVID-19, 30 November – 2 December 2020

By November 24, 2020 December 17th, 2020 Events, Webinars
  • When: 30 November – 2 Dec 2020
  • Time: 8:30 – 11:00AM AST (New York Time) & 4:30 – 7:00PM (Bahrain Time)

The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) jointly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Middle East and North Africa Public Administration Research Think Tank Network (MENAPAR TTN), are pleased to invite you to a virtual regional workshop on ‘Investing in the SDGs through South-South & Triangular Cooperation Beyond COVID-19: Promoting conducive policy, enabling business and legal environment, and integration in the Arab States Region’. The event will be held from 30 November-2 December 2020.


The promotion of South-South investment in the Arab region is now more imperative than ever to meet a broader goal for the region’s long-term economic growth and achieving the SDGs. Impact investment is also a vital approach to support the Arab States in the achievement of their national priorities. It is also a great opportunity for the region to build regional integration of innovativeness, competitiveness and inclusiveness.  To fully optimize the benefits of South-South investments, enabling policies, regulations and appropriate and relevant procedures are a necessary precondition.  Additionally, access to information and a clear understanding of legal and policy environments among SSC partners can also promote optimum scaling up of South-South investment. Lastly, the absence of objective and systematic research and evaluation on the impact of South-South investments and the impacts of digitization means that there may be a missed opportunity for evidence-based policy formulation and implementation.


The objective is to:

  • Analyze the regional South-South investment trends in concomitance with the global pandemic effects and its related policy, legal and business environment, as well as regional integration trends. Scope the contributions of South-South investment in the SDGs in the Arab region; identify the challenges and good practices in institutional, policy and legal frameworks that can facilitate greater South-South investments in the region;
  • Identify mitigation policies in times of crisis and scenario planning to respond to crises and disasters affecting the region as a way to lessen the impact on South-South investments.
  • Identify regional integration efforts, funding mechanisms and frameworks that are facilitating South-South investments for the achievement of the SDGs through financial sustainability, trade, transport, sustainable energy, innovation and technology.
  • Stimulate the knowledge sharing and learning from lessons acquired across the region during the first and second waves of COVID-19.
  • Areas of discussion will also include different types of development financing available, including Islamic Financing.
  • Discuss the importance of embedding digital development into investment policies and Governmental digital development strategies that can further strengthen and enhance South-South investments in the region while taking into consideration the digital divide between countries in the region.

The discussions and outcome of the event will feed into the formulation of a research agenda that aims to inform better policymaking to promote and strengthen investment policies. The end product is the development of comprehensive research on “SSC Trade, Investment and Regional Integration” which compiles inputs from previous similar South-South investment workshops held jointly by UNOSSC and UNDP in Africa, Asia, Europe and CIS and Latin America.

Day 1: Monday, 30 November 2020
Opening Session & Session 1: South-South Investments for SDGs: Global, Regional and Country Trends, Experiences & Perspectives

This session discussed how South-South investments have contributed to the implementation of the SDGs and national priorities in the Arab region by sharing country examples.  It also focused on main regional and interregional economic cooperation institutions in the Arab region and identified regional integration efforts highlighting various models and regional cooperation mechanisms as means for South-South Investments. Speakers provided country perspectives and examples of practices and initiatives that worked and did not work; insights on policy and legal issues, management of diverse resource flows, and present future needs and priorities for South-South investment (e.g., Science, technology and innovations, structural transformation etc.) 

Click the video to watch the recording


Opening Session

  • H.E. Abdulla bin Faisal bin Jabur Al Doseri, Assistant Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Mr. Adel Abdellatif, Director a.i., UNOSSC
  • Mr. Khaled Abdel Shafi, Deputy Director a.i, Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP
  • Dr. Ra’ed M. BenShams, Director General of Bahrain Institute of Public Administration (BIPA) and President of MENAPAR Network 

Session 1: South-South Investments for SDGs: Country and Regional Trends, Experiences & Perspectives:

  • Dr. Anida Yupari Aguado, Economic Affairs Officer, Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • Ms. Roula Majdalani, Cluster Leader, Climate Change and Natural Resources Sustainability Cluster, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
  • Dr. Bahgat Abu El Nasr, Director General of the Arab Economic Integration Department (AEID), League of Arab States
  • Mr. Khaled F. Alkhaled, Regional Manager for International Organization, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, State of Kuwait
  • Dr. Ahmed Ghoniem, Professor, Faculty of Economy and Political Science, Cairo University
  • Dr. Heidi Saidi, Director General, Arab Institute for Training and Research in Statistics (AITRS)
  • H.E. Amb. Imad Zuhairi, Director General, Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA), State of Palestine
  • Mr. Malek Al-Breazat, Head of Department of Cooperation with Arab and OIC Institutions, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • Ms. Rima Younes Khatib, Deputy Director, Foreign Affairs Department, Banque du Liban, Lebanese Republic
  • Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Abro, Deputy Director of Social and Cultural Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Republic of Djibouti

Day 2: Tuesday, 1 December 2020
Session 2: South-South Investment — Public-Private Partnerships and perspectives

The session discussed the incentives and challenges of South-South Investments along with risk management in the context of conflict and political instability, climate change, and inequality.  It also identified policy and legal issues that are enabling or hindering countries to engage in SSC within and beyond the regionBoth public and private sector perspectives were shared. It also provided insights, tools and capacities required to contribute to achieving the SDGs and to identify SDG investment opportunities in Low-income and Least Developed countries. This discussion also took into account the impact of COVID-19 on PPPs. 

Click the video to watch the recording. Also available on BiliBili.


  • Amb. Mohamed Methqal, Director General, Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation, Kingdom of Morocco  
  • Ms. Manal Omer AliManager Assistant, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Republic of the Sudan 
  • Ms. Lin (Linda) YangExecutive Chairwoman of Yingke Global Board of Directors, Global President of Yingke China Center, China  
  • Ms. Leena Al Olaimy, Social Entrepreneur, Cofounder & Executive Chairperson of 3BL Associates, Bahrain  
  • Dr. Ali Adnan Ibrahim, First Vice President, Head of Sustainability & Social Responsibility, Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C. Bahrain 
  • Mr. Ahmed Osman, Chairman, International Council for Small Business  
  • Mr. Ahmed Faruk Diken, Senior Technical Cooperation Coordinator (MENA & Europe), Reverse Linkage, Country Strategy and Cooperation Department, Islamic Development Bank  
  • Dr. Ashraf ElarabyAdvisor to the Arab Planning Institute in Kuwait and the National Planning Institute in Egypt 

Day 3: Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Session 3: Digital Economy and Its Contribution to South-South Investments

This session discussed the opportunities and challenges associated with the digital economy, especially when engaging in South-South investments. The session also discussed the importance of embedding digital development into investment policies and strategies that can further strengthen and enhance South-South investments in the region and provide new avenues for accessing overseas markets and engaging in global e-value chains. The session also took into account the digital divide between countries in the region and provided perspectives on regional efforts that can tackle this issue. Good practices and challenges from the region were shared, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click the video to watch the recording. Also available on BiliBili.


  • Ms. Hanaa Mohamed Shehata, Director-General for Cooperation with Canada, Ministry of International Cooperation, Arab Republic of Egypt
  • Mr. Omar Christidis, CEO and Founder, ArabNet
  • Dr. Khalil Al Amiri, CEO & Partner KPI Associates
  • Dr. Meixiang Zhou, Deputy Director-General, Finance Centre for South-South Cooperation, Hongkong, China
  • Dr. Myriam Ramzy Michel, Assistant Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University
  • Ms. Farah Choucair, Project Manager of Arab Development Portal and Technical Specialist on Hate Speech and Social Cohesion, Regional Programme, Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP
  • Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director, UNOSSC

For more details, please download the Concept Note and Agenda