The inaugural Horasis Global Arab Business Meeting convened in Ras Al Khaimah on 26-27 September 2010. Held under the theme ‘Overcoming the Crisis – Opportunities for the Arab world’ and with more than 400 business and governmental leaders taking part in the event, the Global Arab Business Meeting provided the platform for Arab and global business leaders to discuss the implications of the global economic crisis for the region and to shape the postcrisis environment.
Also, the meeting was conceived to reflect on the increased emphasis of Arab firms to build global and sustainable brands – and thus contributing to the healing of the world economy.
This report distils and interprets the outcomes and observations that emerged from the meeting and offers a taste of the discussions in Ras Al Khaimah.
The programme was designed to consider
how the regions robust economies can contribute
to a global recovery.Thanks to the oil
boom, the Arab world enjoys high liquidity,
with ample funds to invest.The impact of
the global economic crisis naturally varies
across the region – important variables
include reliance on oil revenues, infrastructure
projects and tourism.
Obaid Saqer Busit, Chairman, Obaid Saqer Busit Co., UAE, declared that ‘when markets dried up, the Arab world was quick to refocus its trade and marketing efforts in targeting industries and regions not severely affected by the economic downturn.’ Arab and international business leaders attending the Global Arab Business Meeting unanimously expressed optimism about the strong and sustained growth of the regional economy.
The creation of the Global Arab Business
Meeting marks a crucial moment. New
opportunities are emerging for, and in, the
Arab world as the global economy undergoes
structural changes, as the whole region
engages in a process of re-adjusting its
business and economic interaction with the
rest of the world.
The assembly of Arab
leaders brought together under the auspices
of the Global Arab Business Meeting sought
to contribute to progress toward stability in both a conceptual and a practical way.
Participants reached consensus that
‘The above points need to be considered from a long-term perspective even when current crises demand our attention,’ said Tariq Ahmed Nizami, Founder, CEO Clubs UAE; Chief Executive Officer, F Kamber Holdings, UAE.‘The short- and intermediate-term economic outlook for the Middle East remains positive but how can the Arab world achieve its long-term growth objectives?’ asked Andrew Shaw, Managing Director, Dubai Cables, UAE.
In his special address, H.H. Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi,The Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE welcomed participants to Ras Al Khaimah and called for a new global partnership.
The economic partnership between the Emirates and the world has extensive synergies – especially during the current global economic turmoil. He called on leaders from business and government to restore trust in a decisive but sustainable way. He also sent the message that global trade talks need to be reenergised.‘We are determined to complete the Doha trade deal,’ he added.
On Ras Al Khaimah’s economic outlook, the Crown Prince shared his vision on building an open, competitive economy at an international level.‘
He urged Arab countries to invest more in education and research to become relevant in an increasingly globalised world. ‘Education is at the core of our vision because it is the only way for building competitiveness in the 21st century,’ he added. H.H. Sheikh Saud also called on Arab leaders to develop sound investment strategies, create good infrastructure, and develop a good education system and work ethics.
He pointed out that the same approach has proved beneficial and highly successful for Ras Al Khaimah, as it has helped develop and implement innovative business reforms that have enhanced the emirate’s competitiveness and created a business-friendly environment.
He underlined the need to create an environment that is conducive for investment and economic growth.Minister Abu-Hammour called on the participants to harness the full potential of public-private partnerships (PPP) in implementing key projects across the region. He described the private sector as an ‘engine for growth’ and noted that governments must assume the role of ‘facilitator’ to proactively encourage private sector participation in various development initiatives.
Vayalar Ravi, Union Cabinet Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, said in his keynote address that no one is immune to the ongoing global changes.‘We are living in turbulent times and we have to choose the right road.’Minister Ravi announced that India will intensify its engagement with the Arab world.