Sultan Al Qasimi opens Sharjah FDI Forum 2016 Final Add

SHARJAH, 28th September, 2016 (WAM) – Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) leads not only to wealth in economic terms, but also builds a nation’s culture, art and literature, H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has said.

Sheikh Sultan made the remark during his opening address at the second edition of the Sharjah Foreign Direct Investment Forum (Sharjah FDI Forum 2016), being held at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah.

"The most desirable economy is one which can be measured in terms of its positive effects on society. This can be seen through social stability, strong bonds among people and sustainable sources of income. We want an economy that contributes to building a society and culture that strengthens ties within it. This culture can create a balance between one's identity and society at large," he added.

Organised by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in collaboration with the UK’s Financial Times and the fDi Magazine, the two day Sharjah FDI Forum 2016 has been established to offer an inclusive economic outlook for the future of investment in Sharjah, with a focus on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

"We desire an economy that creates the foundations for a civilisation with all its aspects, including arts, literature, values and ethics. This is the real wealth of nations. Is this not the real purpose of an economy throughout history?" The Ruler of Sharjah asked.

"Our outlook for foreign investment and investors in Sharjah goes beyond its material implications. Foreign investment is a bridge for cultural exchange and a bridge for sharing science, knowledge and expertise. It is a bridge for sharing knowledge in every sense of the word of knowledge, exactly like the trade convoys used to do throughout history when they used to transport books, philosophy and news about discoveries and inventions, along with the goods they were transporting," he continued.

Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary for Foreign Trade and Industry Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Economy, said that it is a priority for the country to accelerate the diversification of the economy in the face of plummeting oil prices, regional instability and economic shocks such as the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

"We are aiming to increase the UAE’s diversification programme to permanently reduce our reliance on oil, the price of which is not set to rise anytime in the near future. The government has a target of reducing its oil-related GDP figure of 30 per cent to 20 per cent and is planning on FDI being 5 per cent of its GDP by 2021. We intend to build a knowledge-based economy that is underpinned by an increase in FDI and a greater number of free trade agreements," Al Saleh said.

Dr. Parag Khanna, Director of the Global Governance Initiative, American Strategy Programme, New America Foundation and author of the book ‘Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilisation’ while outlining how globalisation was increasing connectivity, explained how the world map had changed over the years from its first form, one of ‘blue denoting oceans and brown denoting deserts’ to its second form, one of a ‘geopolitical topography’ to its third form, characterised as ‘functional geography comprising modern silk roads.’ Following the opening addresses, the Ruler of Sharjah honoured the sponsors and media partners of the forum; including the Bank of Sharjah, ENOC, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Tilal Properties (Gold Sponsors). He also honoured Saja Industrial Oasis and Gulftainer (Silver Sponsors), as well as CNBC Arabia and Sharjah Media Corporation (Media Sponsors).

The Sharjah FDI Forum 2016 aims to present a bright image of the promising industrial reality in the UAE, specifically Sharjah, by highlighting the successes made by a number of factories which set up their business locally and steadily expanded to the regional and international markets. It will also examine a range of potential opportunities in the industrial sector in the UAE and Sharjah.

Among others present at the event were Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation, Sharjah Media Centre; Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq; Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary for Foreign Trade and Industry Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Economy; Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, and a line-up of the industry’s top executives from Sharjah, the UAE and the rest of the world.