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Talking to young tech entrepreneurs gathered at a conference in Istanbul, you hear the hunger for change that is pervasive in the Middle East. They're frustrated and angry about the status quo, not least because they fear it has helped spawn the extremism of jihadist groups such as ISIS.Abd al-Rahman and five other young techies spoke at a session of the Abraaj Forum, an annual meeting sponsored by the Abraaj Group, a private-equity firm that invests in emerging markets. The members of the tech panel were drawn from a larger group of so-called "Global Shapers" assembled by the World Economic Forum.Most of the tech entrepreneurs here seemed to see the ISIS through that prism, even though none had any sympathy for the group's violent extremism.Thomas Dermine, a young Belgian consultant, is experimenting with "social impact bonds" that could, for example, finance rehabilitation programs for ex-convicts to reduce the likelihood they will return to expensive incarceration – and then share the profits between the government and investors.
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