G8 to help Arab Spring economies

Published January 22nd, 2013 - 09:09 GMT
The G8 is to help Arab Spring nations with investment in SMEs and asset recovery
The G8 is to help Arab Spring nations with investment in SMEs and asset recovery

The Group of Eight (G8) nations under the presidency of the UK will assist Arab nations in transition on SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), asset recovery and women’s participation in business, the British Officials said at a press briefing in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

The G8 will assist Arab nations in transition to build SMEs and recover assets illegally kept in G8 nations or anywhere else, said Dominic Jermey, the British Ambassador to the UAE.

He was explaining the UK’s objectives for the G8 and the Deauville Partnership. The UK holds the Presidency of the G8 for 2013 and takes a lead role in the Deauville Partnership.

The Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition, formed in the aftermath of the Arab Spring by the 2011 French G8 Presidency, includes G8 members, the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), multilateral development banks, and regional partners comprising the governments of the UAE, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordon, Morocco, Libya, Kuwait Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The Deauville Partnership was a strategic response from the G8 to the Arab Spring, said Jessica Irvine, DFID (Department for International Development) representative — Gulf States at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi. She said the G8 will assist the nations in transition by three ways. It will organise an investment conference to boost the foreign investments in those countries for increasing employment opportunities. The conference will try to attract investments from the Gulf States including the UAE as well, she said.

A mentoring scheme for SMEs will support prospective entrepreneurs in those countries. A pilot mentoring scheme will develop 250 SMEs. To facilitate the trade development, the G8 will facilities trade talks between European Union and the nations in transition.

Encouraging women’s participation in business will be the third initiative.

International financial institutions and regional players such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have pledged $165 million for the developmental activities in those countries.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has also announced $250 billion for the Arab nations in transition, Irvine said.

To assist with the capacity building for asset recovery, the UK has already opened an office of asset recovery advisor in Cairo that will be expanded to Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Yemen in due course, said Shane Nainappan, Liaison Prosecutor at the British Embassy.

As the chair of the G8, the UK will push for policies that create more jobs and address the issues of open economy, Eurozone crisis, the US fiscal cliff and public debt within G8, the ambassador said.

“We will look into where FTA’s (Free Trade Agreements) can be pushed, particularly between EU (European Union) and the US, that deals with a third of global trade,” he said.

The G8 will also try to address the invisible barriers of trade like bureaucratic hurdles, Jermy said.

“Trade, transparency and taxes will be our priorities,” he said.


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