Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al Saleh calls on Arab countries to benefit from the UAE's experience in economic diversification

Published November 5th, 2009 - 09:14 GMT

H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Director General of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade, delivered a speech at the Arab British Economic held recently in London by the Arab British Chamber of Commerce.  H.E. Al Saleh spoke in the presence of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and UK and Arab ministers, experts and economic establishments.

The Director General invited Arab countries to learn from the UAE’s experience in economic diversification while developing their respective economies and enhancing the economic performance of the region. He revealed that the Emirates’ non-oil sectors accounted for 63 per cent of the 2008 GDP at USD 590 billion. He added that Abu Dhabi’s selection as headquarters to the International Renewable Energy Agency is a testimony to the country’s immense capacities and the opportunities offered by new growth sectors such as renewable energy.

H.E. explained that the increase in the UAE’s federal budget will sustain national development and attract more foreign investments especially into non-oil businesses. He invited Arab countries to adopt similar strategies for expanding infrastructure and energizing domestic growth and foreign investments.

The Director General added that even if the Arab region was not that much affected by the global financial crisis, it remains concerned about the crisis’ consequences and their impact on development on the long run. He pointed out that the recession has revealed gaps in the systems of Arab financial establishments. He stated that unified financial policies need to be adopted to complement region-wide economic and financial reforms currently taking place.

His Excellency emphasized the need for mutual approaches to developing investment and trade cooperation between Arab countries and the UK in order to overcome the effects of the current economic crisis.

He further explained that Middle Eastern countries have already started changing their economic agendas in response to the downturn, aimed at promoting the growth of various sectors. He referred to new paths of economic growth in the region which require consolidated Arab approaches.

The official highlighted the importance of a unified Arab vision towards development and stronger partnerships between the public and private sectors. The intensified investments of both these parties into infrastructure for new growth sectors, he said, would enhance Arab businesses and help achieve higher levels of regional growth.

H.E. Al Saleh also urged Arab countries and the UK to enhance their exchange of information on investment and business opportunities. He said that the forum shows the commitment of both sides to closely collaborate on addressing global challenges and strengthening mutual growth. He commended Britain for remaining one of the UAE’s most important trade partners especially in non-oil trade, which was valued at around AED30 billion. He explained that the UAE ranks among the UK’s 10 most important trade partners, while the UK is the 6th largest export destination for the Emirates. Moreover, the Director General stated that British investments are the highest among the UAE’s direct foreign investments.

His Excellency then referred to the memorandum of understanding signed between the UAE and the UK a few months ago which aims to strengthen trade, economic and technical relations. He revealed the creation of a mutual economic panel that held its first meeting a few days ago.

Furthermore, the Director General emphasized the importance of continuing efforts to find new channels for enhancing trade and economic cooperation between both countries, and opening new doors to partnerships in small and medium businesses.

The Arab British Economic Forum explored new avenues for expanding Arab-British relationships and overcoming obstacles to such partnerships. It also aimed to enhance the methods used by Arab countries to resolve 21st century challenges related to globalization, the economy, renewal of resources, technology, and the global crisis. The forum focused on the six major sectors of agriculture, financial services, education and training, ICT, renewable energy and women’s role in global economy.

 


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