Business leaders optimistic about opportunities created by the Arab Spring

Press release
Published October 12th, 2011 - 10:23 GMT
During the event
During the event

The sweeping changes brought about by the Arab Spring have not dented business confidence in the region as top business leaders and policy makers attending the Global Arab Business Meeting (GABM) in Ras Al Khaimah this week shared an optimistic outlook on the region’s ability to emerge stronger on the economic front.

The panelists at the discussion on `Economics of the Arab Spring’ held at the GABM agreed in general that the Arab Spring presented an opportunity to broad- based economic growth, improve governance and initiate long pending reforms in many countries.

Setting the tone of discussions in his introductory remarks, H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, said that governments in the region should adopt transparency and good governance as their defining hallmarks to address the region’s challenges effectively.

“The real challenge is how we can provide good governance to the people, which I believe begins with transparency. Governments should have the courage to bring in transparency which allows them to address challenges rather than accumulating the problems,” Sheikh Saud said.

Providing an overview of the recent developments in Egypt, Sherif El- Gabaly, Chairman, Polyserve Fertilizer and Chemical Group, Egypt, said that even though Egypt’s economy had put up strong showing on the marcoeconomic level in recent years, the benefits of growth failed to reach the people. “A stable and democratic Egypt has great potential for growth with its strong foundations in tourism, agriculture and industry,” he noted.

Rajive Kaul, Chairman, Nicco Group, India, observed that Arab Spring is going to be a catalyst for economic growth in the region. “The Arab Spring is going to unleash new dynamism in the region and will bring in phenomenal economic growth,” he said while adding that existence of a fair amount of market economy in the Arab world, absence of debts and decent income levels are factors auguring well for regional economies.

Ahmed Al Khateeb, CEO of Jadwa Investment, Saudi Arabia, said that outlook for growth varied greatly among countries in the region. “While the oil exporting countries, including the GCC, were on a strong footing, enjoying high oil prices and massive budgetary surpluses,  the oil importing countries in the region like Jordan, Morocco and Lebanon were facing challenges due to drop in tourism revenue and income from the services sector. The third set of countries which had undergone political changes recently are facing an unstable period for the moment but had tremendous opportunities in the long term,” he said.

Barbara Judge, Chairman Emeritus, UK Atomic Energy Authority, said the new governments in the region will have to meet the great expectations people have on making their lives better.

Among the other dignitaries who took part in the discussions were Nicolas Nahas, Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade, Mohammad Hassan Omran, Chairman of Etisalat and Juan Maria Nin, Deputy Chairman and CEO, CaixaBank, Spain.

The Global Arab Business Meeting also had sessions on Sustainable Strategies for the Arab World, Education: The Currency of the Arab Spring, Winning strategies for natural resources, Reflecting by the shore- Geopolitics and Trade, Financial Services: Looking at priorities for growth, Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Arab Firms Emergence as Global Champions among other topics. 

RAK Crown Prince honours Arab Business Leaders of the Year 2011 

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, honoured the winners of the `Arab Business Leaders of the Year 2011’ at the Global Arab Business Meeting in Ras Al Khaimah. The award recognises outstanding entrepreneurs who have been building and leading successful global firms of Arab origin. 

The winners for the year 2011 are Jacques Sarraf, Chairman, Malia Holding, Abdul Wahab Alahmari, President, Saudi Geophysical Equipment Factory, and Ahmad Abdullah Ali Al Amash Tunaiji, General Manager, Gulf Cement Company in Ras Al Khaimah.

Background Information

The RAK Investment Authority

RAKEZ is an Authority established to oversee and consolidate the specialised parks and clients of both Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) and RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA). RAKEZ, the world-class economic zone is aimed at offering highly customised facilities and services within an efficient ecosystem in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah

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