Inside Stories seminar to focus on Silver Economy

Anne Connolly, CEO of Ireland’s Smart Ageing Exchange

Opportunities and challenges that stem from having an ageing population will be up for discussion next week as part of the latest seminar in 2018’s Inside Stories season.

Hosted by Ithraa, Oman's inward investment and export development agency, a discussion on the Silver Economy is set to take place at 7.30pm on June 26 at the Public Authority for Civil Aviation Training Centre in Al Hail North.

The evening will be moderated by His Highness Sayyid Dr. Adham Al Said, assistant professor of economics at Sultan Qaboos University. It will be led by smart ageing economy specialist Anne Connolly, CEO of Ireland’s Smart Ageing Exchange, an independent network of Irish businesses, academic institutions and government agencies fast tracking the R&D and commercialisation of solutions for the global ageing economy.

According to Taleb Al Makhmari, Ithraa marketing and media director general, and organiser of the Inside Stories series, “the world is in the early stages of a silver tsunami”.

Average life expectancy in Oman is now 76.9 years, compared to 49.3 years in 1970. Experts suggest that babies being born today will on average live past their 100th birthday.

Over-55s constitute the fastest-growing group in the populations of high-income countries, with their number set to increase by more than a third by 2030, from 164 million to 222 million. Older consumers are also the richest thanks to increasing house prices and pensions.

Mr Al Makhmari said: “Think silver rather than grey and the increasing proportion of older consumers globally becomes a potential bonus, not a burden.

“The world’s biggest spenders will be the elderly, a trend that both our public and private sectors should be closely monitoring. Looking to the future, it is impractical for our cities and communities to count on young people alone to act as economic drivers,”

He also believes it’s crucial for Omani businesses to create a diverse workplaces that benefit from a wide variety of talent.

“If I were asked to advise an Omani tech start-up about how to build their team, rather than telling them to hire two twenty-something SQU engineering graduates or two 55 year-olds with 30 years telecommunications experience, I’d tell them to hire one of each – one would bring the creativity and risk-taking, while the other the experience and ability to see across sectors,” he said.

Mr Al Makhmari added: “The truth is a new stage of life has been opened up but we have yet to get to grips with all its promise, potential and possibilities - not to mention its challenges. Hopefully, the 26 June, Silver Economy, Inside Stories session will go a long way in addressing and exploring these.”

Insert image: Taleb Al Makhmari, Ithraa marketing and media director general.