The market potential for small and medium enterprises in the GCC is poised to touch $920 billion in the next five years compared to the current $360 billion, a growth of 156 per cent, significantly enhancing investment prospects in this sector, research data released on Tuesday at the second India-UAE Partnership Summit (IUPS) shows.
Over the five-year period, employment potential in the SME sector is expected to touch 22 million from the current 17 million in GCC, a research paper released at the opening session of IUPS said.
The partnership summit, jointly inaugurated by Dr. Abdullah Al Nuaimi, the UAE Minister of Infrastructure Development; and Indian state ministers Manpreet Singh Badal from Punjab, Satyender Jain from Delhi and Chandra Mohan Patowary from Assam, is focusing on education, SMEs and skill development & placement. Four Indian states - Assam, Delhi, Punjab and West Bengal - are showcasing investment opportunities in these sectors. The focus emirate of the UAE is Sharjah represented by the investment promotion agency, Invest in Sharjah.
"SMEs present a significant opportunity for India and the UAE to cooperate and add value to the robust economic potential of both the countries, particularly in the private sector. The SME platform will offer a multifaceted and diverse investment opportunity for entrepreneurs from both countries thereby raising the share of the sector's contribution to the GDP of both the nations," said Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri.
IUPS is organised by Business Leaders Forum (BLF), a unit of India Trade & Exhibition Centre m.e. in association with Indian Embassy, the Consulate General of India and the UAE Ministry of Economy as strategic partners.
The research paper prepared by a leading accountancy major, Crowe, said SMEs contribute 22 per cent to the GCC's GDP with the UAE leading in the rankings with the sector contributing 30 per cent to the country's overall national output and 60 per cent of the non-oil GDP.
In other countries in the region, the share of SMEs to GDP is estimated at 28 per cent in Bahrain, 22 per cent in Saudi Arabia, 20 per cent in Kuwait and 14 per cent in Oman. In India, SMEs form the backbone of the country's economy contributing 45 per cent of the manufacturing output and 40 per cent of exports.
"SME is a sunrise sector in India, the UAE and the region throwing open immense opportunities for private sector entrepreneurs to participate, which will further reinforce the robust economic relations between both the countries,: said Ram Buxani, President of BLF.
Sudesh Aggarwal, Board Member of BLF and Chairman of India Trade and Exhibition Centre, said mutual cooperation in the sectors of education, skill development and placement of manpower and SMEs would help complement the robust strategic agenda of Indo-UAE relations.
"This year's the summit's aim is to present a diverse basket of potential investment opportunities in both the countries as well as the region. SMEs and education sectors are two sectors where there is tremendous potential to join hands," said Sripriya Kumaria, Secretary General of BLF.
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