The GCC rift has finally been resolved as different factions in the region signed an agreement during the latest Gulf summit, announcing an end to the years-long dispute, one that had interrupted business cooperation between some of the MENA's strongest economies.
#Saudi Arabia reopened its airspace and land and sea borders with #Qatar on Monday, in a breakthrough agreement aimed at ending the three-year diplomatic dispute with Doha https://t.co/ZOBYyzbJmv pic.twitter.com/lRtMecYqi5— Global Islamic Economy Summit (@GIESummit) January 5, 2021
Signing the "solidarity and stability agreement" between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain joined by Qatar gave hopes of a quick return for economic activities that were halted in the wake of the 2017 crisis.
One of the major features of the crisis was an economic boycott of Qatar, one that was described by the country as a "blockade," pausing imports and exports between it and the three other countries, in addition to Egypt.
Even though the agreement doesn't detail the aspects of economic collaborations that are expected to follow, eyes have been focused on the prospects of new trade and investment opportunities that can be reached between the different countries.
Amongst the sectors that are expected to feel the biggest difference in the coming weeks is the travel and aviation industry, considering that it was one of the hardest-hit ones when Qatar Airways had been banned from crossing through the airspace of most of its neighbors, affecting its routes over the years.
The regional crack had also affected trade patterns in the GCC, which suggests a return of Saudi and Emirati products to the Qatari market after Doha had been importing alternative goods from Turkey and Iran to avoid food shortages.
Additionally, the reconciliation can now help the GCC economies, all of which are oil and natural gas-dependent, to focus their efforts on stabilizing the energy industry that has had an extremely volatile year during 2020, which will eventually reflect positively on their stock markets.
Moreover, Saudi and Emirati cities can now welcome Qatari tourists who are known for their strong purchasing power, thanks to Qatar's high GDP per capita.
Finally, the GCC countries are still bracing for the Gulf Railway project, which is expected to be completed by 2023, linking the region's main cities through a modern railway system that will cost near $250 billion.
What other long-term positive changes do you think the GCC agreement will bring the organization's countries?
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