The “Syrian Diaspora Business Forum”, held in Eschborn, Germany on February 2017 and organized by the World Bank in cooperation with CMI and other development partners, convened more than 100 regional and global stakeholders that represent Syrian diaspora community, multilateral Organizations, bilateral development institutions, academic experts, businesspeople and investment partners, policy makers, NGOs and think tanks.
During the Forum five action plans were produced related to 1) regulatory barriers, 2) youth, education and gender, 3) financial inclusion and access to funds, 4) investment and matchmaking, and 5) creating what was decided by the group to become the “Syrian International Business Association” (SIBA).
The vision behind SIBA is to represent and empower the Syrian business community outside Syria, and to facilitate the growth of Syrian businesses to contribute positively in both the Syrian diaspora community and hosting countries. SIBA also aims to play a leading role in the creation and implementation of economic and developmental strategies and policies related to the future reconstruction of Syria. Due to the unstable situation and the complexity of the Syrian crisis SIBA will not be working in Syria until these conditions improve.
The main objectives of SIBA have initially been defined as follows:
Work with international organizations and host countries’ goverments to improve their business climate in order to facilitate potential growth for Syrian entrepreneurs and to enable the Syrian private sector to create job opportunities for both the Syrian refugees and locals;
By the end of the Eschborn Forum, a follow-up gathering was agreed upon to be held in July 2017 in Marseille. In the meantime, a series of webinar meetings have been conducted with a core group of participants which acted as a SIBA interim Steering Committee, under the CMI stewardship and in cooperation with the World Bank Group team. These meetings discussed the organization, structure and location of SIBA, SIBA Statutes and by-laws, and some early follow-up of the action plan, including preparatory steps for this event.
This SIBA Forum gathered around 100 Syrian business people as well as interested development partners. This interactive learning event was designed to facilitate the next steps in networking, knowledge exchange and engagement, around the creation of SIBA. Participants representing the Syrian community included participants from the Eschborn Forum, diaspora champions, business owners and skilled professionals. This first SIBA workshop also brought key development players with current and potential engagements in initiatives geared towards alleviating the effects of the Syrian crisis.
Key objectives of this two-days Forum were: