The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organized on Monday morning, a press conference in which it announced the preparations underway to hold the first edition of the Sharjah Business Forum 2011. This event will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al-Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, under the theme “Complementarity between the GCC Markets and the Business Sector.” The two-day event will take place on February 27 and 28, and will bring together senior officials, businessmen and investors, as well as economics academicians and experts.
The press conference, held at the SCCI headquarters, was attended by a large number of journalists from print, audiovisual and electronic media. It was chaired by Mr. Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, SCCI Director General, who was accompanied by representatives of official sponsors and the event’s organizing company.
During the conference a number of speeches were given by the Sharjah Chamber and the sponsors, which stressed the relevance and importance of holding this new forum, and the potential role it can play in promoting mutual GCC relations, opening new investment horizons and the extending existing ones.
In his address, Mr. Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoud, General Director of the Sharjah Chamber, said: “the Sharjah Government has adopted a steadfast economic approach that seeks to build a integrated system at all social, cultural, service and economic levels. This is because combining all these efforts is crucial to the comprehensive development movement carried out in the UAE at large. As the economy is the engine of comprehensive development, we work hard to build a strong economy with an inexhaustible potential for growth. In this endeavor we work with the relevant institutions, both private and public, as this cooperation will consolidate further the complementarity between the social and economic structure, thus enabling the achievement of the highest levels of development and growth.
Therefore and as part of the nationwide effort towards progress and development, the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry is organizing on January 27 and 28 the first Sharjah Business Forum, to be held under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al-Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah. This event will serve as a meeting platform for Arabs, particularly GCC business men and women, investors to exchange opinions and expertise, as well as helping sustain investments in this region and increase commercial and economic exchanges between its countries, thus contributing in strengthening the Gulf Common Market and increasing investments within the GCC countries.”
Mr. Hussain Al Mahmoud also pointed out in his address that the first Sharjah Business Forum will create room for discussion and opinion exchange between businessmen and economists, during a series of workshops to accompany the event. Mr. Al Hamoud added that: “We are proud that our guests in this Forum are the elite of economists whose opinions are guidelines for us in our journey of economic development.” The SCCI director general revealed to the media that H.E. Abdurahman Al Atiya, the GCC General Secretary, is the Forum’s spokesperson, highlighting further the importance this event will play in promoting complementarity and cooperation between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. “The Forum” he said, “will help develop economic and investment opportunities in the GCC member states and take their economies up to a new level where they can compete confidently with the global economic players.”
A Social Obligation and A National Responsibility
The UAE Armed Forces is the Forum’ top sponsor. This is a true testimony to the national responsibility and the social obligation entrusted to this esteemed institution. In the press conference the address of the UAE Armed Forces pointed out that the “our mission is not only to maintain peace and stability in the country, but also to be involved in the comprehensive development process of the country. We believe that by taking part in the Sharjah Business Forum, we will help support the economic and investment efforts. The economy is the engine of any comprehensive development. Our wise leadership restates firmly in any appropriate occasion that the Armed Forces should take its right place in the society, maintaining peace and cohesion between all the components of the society. But this cohesion cannot be achieved without mutual cooperation and respect between its different constituents. Such cooperation can be achieved by supporting any activities or events that are likely to serve the society and take the country another step forwards. We have sworn allegiance and loyalty to our country and protection and support to our citizens. Therefore we will stand in economic, cultural and social fields as we would have to stand in the battlefield; confidents in our mission, and armed with the ultimate objective of serving our country and our citizens.”
Private Organizations Are Important Actors in the Society
Naser Al-Akram, director of shareholder affairs and external relations in DanaGaz, the Diamond Sponsor of the event, said during the conference: “At DanaGaz we believe we are contributors in the economic movement in the United Arab Emirates. We believe that our mission does not end at our professional and economic responsibilities, but we strive to actively take part in efforts of community development, raising public awareness on issues that matter to the citizens. I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the initiative that we strongly believe will contribute largely in promoting the excellent business environment of the UAE in general and Sharjah in particular. We wanted to support this Forum because we believe we have a responsibility towards our community, especially those young and vibrant citizens who need to be informed about the challenges of any economic activity in this era of globalization, by learning from success stories and interacting with successful entrepreneurs and knowledgeable economists.”
Amer Al-amiri, chairman of the board of director of EMCO Contracting Company, the Forum’s Silver Sponsor, also attended the press conference. He said: “We are an active player in the economic dynamics of the UAE in general, and Sharjah in particular. Our participation in the first Sharjah Business Forum is an expression of our commitment to support anyone who is helping to build the regional economy. Our participation is also a testimony to the vital role the private sector can play in creating investment opportunities and vitalizing the local business environment. We also believe that the private sector and the public sectors are two partners who act jointly or individually to consolidate the existing economy, and we are very pleased that this platform will let us meet with our brother and sister entrepreneurs and business actors from other GCC countries. Hopefully, this reunion will give an impetus to the economic development and commercial exchanges between the GCC countries, and will lay the ground for more better business opportunities for GCC investor. Finally I hope this forum would yield fruitful results and I also hope that the objectives of the Sharjah forum would be fulfilled.”
Cooperation between countries of the Arab gulf has always been beneficial to all GCC members states. It was built on the exchange of economic capabilities, attracting GCC capitals to invest in the region. The proof that this cooperation is today in better shape more than ever is the volume of trade between the member states, which although went through several stumbling blocks in its first stages, is now energetically expanding, and mutually benefiting every country member of this union. Each country is well aware that a strong economy is the foundation for building any solid cultural, intellectual or social edifices.
Based on this conviction, the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation is taking part in the First Sharjah Business Forum. H.E. Mr. Abdulrahim Hassan Naqi, the Secretary General of the GCC Chambers Federation said: “We in the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation appreciate such initiative and stand by every regional activity that aims at promoting the economic and commercial movement in the region. We also highly appreciate the efforts made by the Sharjah Government and the Sharjah SCCI in holding economic events and attracting investors, businessmen and interested parties to take part in bolstering and upgrading the economy of the GCC zone.”
On his part, H.E. Mr. Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, the Sharjah SCCI Director, said “The support provided by the GCC Chambers Federation for such an event is an outcome of the excellent partnership between us. Such a strong relationship will help consolidate the economic movement in the area and bring forth the economic and cultural features of the Gulf states in general, and Sharjah in particular.”
Moreover, the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation is also supporting the Sharjah Chamber in this event. Commenting on such a participation, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Sultan Abdulla, the Secretary General of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation said that “each move we are undertaking in the economic field in the area is a step forward, and an effective motivator for economic development, followed by overall development. The UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation appreciate the efforts made by the Sharjah Government and the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry in organizing this distinguished event which is expected to attract a large number of businessmen, investors, and interested parties to the United Arab Emirates. This would surely contribute to promote and enhance the economic movement at large.”
This event is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the excellent level of cooperation between different GCC actors. It is clearly expressed in the close involvement of the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation, the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation as well as several other government and private partners which are sponsoring this Forum.
The First Sharjah Business Meeting comprises five workshops that will discuss prospects of the Gulf Common Market, Arabian Gulf Investments in the GCC Region, the Business Environment in Sharjah, Small and Medium Enterprises, as well as Business Women in the Arabian Gulf.
The Forum is an strong opportunity for new horizons of economic cooperation and commercial exchange between the GCC member states. It will highlight the role of the Gulf Common Market in stimulating the economic motion in the region, promoting the Emirates of Sharjah and the business environment and investment opportunities it boats, attracting new investments to the GCC region in general and Sharjah in particular, and discussing the challenges facing investors in the GCC countries. The First Sharjah Business Forum will bring together senior officials, prominent GCC businessmen and investors, as well as local and regional corporate investment counselors and decision makers, and economists and economics academicians.