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Inspiring business relations with Africa, the Lebanese way

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Rami Majzoub, Associate Director of Development at LAU, receiving the "New Leader for Tomorrow" certificate from the former President of the Republic of Ghana Jerry John Rawlings, at the 2010 Crans Montana Forum on Africa.

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During the forum, held in Brussels, Belgium, from April 7–10, Majzoub gave a presentation titled "The South–South cooperation, the prospects of a rallying role via the Lebanese example."

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Majzoub chatting with Irina Bokova, the director-general of UNESCO, during the forum.

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Majzoub (3rd from left) was one of the four members of the Lebanese delegation. The other delegates were (from left): Khaled Bohsali, Director of the Foreign Affairs Department at the Central Bank of Lebanon; Mazen H. Abboud, a member of the directing committee of the Regie Libanaise des Tabacs et Tombacs, and chairman of engineering consulting firm Entegro S.A.R.L.; and Gilbert Doumit, a senior partner at Beyond Consulting & Training.

Click on any photo above to view all four images.

April 22, 2010—

Rami Majzoub, 2009 Chairman of the Africa & Middle-East Development Council of the non-governmental organization Junior Chamber International, and Associate Director of Development at LAU, was officially designated as one of the global “new leaders for tomorrow” of the 2010 Crans Montana Forum on Africa, held in Brussels, Belgium, from April 7-10.

Majzoub was selected from a pool of some hundreds of candidates to be part of the Forum of New Leaders for Tomorrow, which “aims to be a unique, multi-stakeholder community of Arab and African young leaders who are shaping the global agenda and implementing a better cooperation between Arab and African Countries in the framework of the new South-South Cooperation,” according to an announcement on the Crans Montana Forum’s website.

During an April 10 session of the Crans Montana Forum on Africa, Majzoub gave a presentation titled “The South-South cooperation, the prospects of a rallying role via the Lebanese example.”

He was one of three people who gave short presentations as part of the session on “The New Leaders: How to Take Advantage of the South-South Cooperation?” and one of the four members of the Lebanese delegation.

“The idea was to focus on enhancing the South-South cooperation by enhancing the Africa-Middle East cooperation,” explains Majzoub, who analyzed the strong bonds developed among the countries of Africa and Middle East just by the Lebanese diaspora.

“I started the presentation historically when in the late 19th century the first wave of Lebanese immigrants arrived in West Africa thinking they were arriving in South America as they had set out as merchants,” says Majzoub. “In West Africa, the Lebanese settled in countries like Senegal where they established strong businesses and were able to be successful in their adopted country — but never forgot their own country.”

Majzoub says the success of the Lebanese in West Africa is an example of how a community can succeed in “strengthening the bonds between two continents.” He says the reason he talked about this was to inspire other communities in Africa by the Lebanese model.

Since 2008, Majzoub has developed an international career in JCI, being the first Middle Eastern person to hold such positions, starting with his election as international JCI vice-president assigned to Europe. He is currently serving as JCI UN affairs commissioner, acting as liaison officer between JCI and the United Nations for Africa and the Middle East.

JCI in Lebanon has approximately 200 members and is an initiative that Majzoub says kicked off 10 years ago, but was officially recognized by the Lebanese government five years ago. An international organization with presence in more than 120 countries, with about 200,000 members and hundreds of thousands of alumni, it focuses on offering young active citizens between 18 and 40 years of age the opportunities to develop their leadership skills and bring positive change to their societies.

The Crans Montana Forum on Africa is a unique community of young leaders from the Arab and African countries, identified thanks to their exceptional professional achievement and proven leadership experience in business and government.

The theme of this year’s forum was: “Africa after the London & Pittsburgh G 20s: The New Economic Parameters, Strategies with the New European Commission & Parliament.”

This year, the forum was held for the first time in Brussels — it was in Bahrain last year — and this offered a key opportunity for African, and international government officials and businesses, to assess the most influential of Africa’s stakeholders. This encompassed attracting some of the most influential leaders in business, government and civil society with the goal of contributing toward humanely making Africa a better place for foreign investment and business.

“In this new world of globalization, a South-South cooperation does not have to come at the expense of a North-South cooperation — economically or politically — because a strongly bonded Africa and Middle East can have better ties economically and politically with the North,” says Majzoub.


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