The Arab-British Economic Summit 2019 (ABES 2019) took place on Wednesday 3rd July 2019 at the QEII Centre, London, under the theme, “A shared Vision”. The event which was organized by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Union of Arab Chambers and the League of Arab States, witnessed the participation of a wide range of Arab and British officials, investors and representatives of financial institutions. During the Summit, the two sides discussed ways to enhance trade cooperation and encourage investment in youth, infrastructure and renewable energies.
"The concept of business has evolved steadily over the last decade, as a result of the increased use of technology and ICT all around the World among new generations which rely heavily on it," said H.E Mohamed Abdo Saeed, President of the Union of Arab Chambers. “The Arab world is full of talented young people with high skills in the ICT sector, essential for any business to succeed. There are many opportunities for the British private sector to invest in the Arab World and retain the Young Arab Talents," he said. "Our Arab region has huge potentials and areas of cooperation that can be exploited by our British counterpart, mainly the presence of an empowered Arab workforce. Not to forget, the Arab World also represents a large market for British products and companies.”
In turn, H.E Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, stated, "It is not easy to look at the overall picture of the Arab economy and its developments, since the image is overlapping and complex. The Arab world includes risks and vulnerabilities as much as it possesses potential and factors of success and prosperity. Indeed, there are attempts in a number of countries in the region to transform Arab human resources, which are many and promising, into the equation of success.” He pointed out, “The Arab region however, still lacks expertise in areas related to achieving sustainable development, in its three, economic, social and environmental dimensions. We ask therefore the British side to inject some new kind of vitality into its economy during this delicate stage. I also think the Arab Region is an ideal destination for our British counterpart, not only as a huge consumer market, but mainly, as a destination for investment, partnership and employment in many emerging projects and promising sectors such as energy, information technology and more."
Dr. Sami Al Obaidy, President of the Council of Saudi Chambers pursued by saying, "We need more efforts at all levels, whether at the business or the Governmental level, in ways to double the volume of trade exchanges, strengthen economic partnerships, and build joint projects in various productive and service sectors, while altogether holding summits, forums and conferences that contribute to achieving our goals and economic partnerships.”
Baroness Elizabeth Symons, President of the Arab-British Chamber, explained, “Everyone is interested to know what will happen in this regard, and whether you think BREXIT is good or not, the state of uncertainty definitely creates a difficult environment. However, one thing is certain: we are a trading country and we will continue to rely on our close economic relations with the Arab world. Thus, we will maintain and strengthen these relations no matter what.” She further affirmed, “Whatever the outcome of BREXIT is, the conference is very important because it focuses on the future of our business relationships".
For his part, H.E Abdullatif bin Rashid AlyZayani, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, highlighted, "The close and strategic partnership between GCC countries and Britain is the basis of cooperation in many sectors, and it encourages us to look beyond the border and work together on a common priority, including regional defense and security, counter-terrorism and its financing, extremism and organized crime."
Finally, H.E Ali Thanyan Al-Ghanim, Chairman of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Head of the Arab side at the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the importance of human capital in the region. He stated that “Arab countries possess numerous resources, and a strategic location, but their most important asset is their human capital. Commercial wars represent the most prominent threats to both Britain and Arab countries, and the Arab world has been witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, which has led to mass exodus in most European countries.” He affirmed, “In this regard, the cooperation between the Arab world and the international community, particularly Britain, is strongly needed as it will not only contribute to the establishment of a new Arab world, but also to making this region a powerful engine for global growth."
Source: (Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Edited)