Wednesday 17, February 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: The UAE’s experiences in preparing for a future beyond oil offer learning opportunities for the Commonwealth of Independent States in overcoming challenges created by the oil market volatility, stated His Excellency Eng. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE’s Minister of Energy, in an opening address during the first edition of the Commonwealth of Independent States Global Business Forum (CIS GBF 2016) in Dubai, organised by Dubai Chamber from February 17-18, 2016.
“The CIS nations require long-term strategies to overcome the challenges in the hydrocarbon sector. The UAE has shown that it is possible to prepare for challenges well ahead as we have shown by developing an independent strategy away from oil,” HE Al Mazrouei said.
HE Al Mazrouei called for easing of regulatory norms and more efforts to establish treaties in areas such as taxation and protection of investor interests. He said diversification of CIS economies should include diversification of energy resources as shown by the UAE which has significantly reduced its dependency on the oil sector, HE Al Mazrouei added.
Earlier, welcoming the participants, HE Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Dubai Chamber has hosted the CIS Global Business Forum in Dubai as it represents an ideal platform to open new horizons for cooperation between the UAE and Gulf based companies and the most promising markets of Central Asian countries.
HE Al Ghurair said the Forum is particularly significant in view of the strong trade ties between the UAE and the CIS region over the years. Dubai’s non-oil trade with the CIS grew from AED 15.5 billion in 2011 to AED 20.8 billion in 2014 whereas in the first half of 2015, bilateral non-oil trade between Dubai and the CIS region had already reached AED 7.8 billion, HE Al Ghurair said.
A panel discussion on the topic ‘Changing Synergies – The Reorientation of CIS Business’ on the first day of CIS GBF 2016 highlighted the strategic importance of the CIS region to investors from GCC countries.
Jean-Marc Peterschmitt, Managing Director for Countries of Operations and Chief Operating Officer for Banking, EBRD, UK, said the CIS region with over 280 million people and a $2 trillion economy has created several projects with good returns. There is considerable potential in sectors such as agro-business, infrastructure and logistics which must be taken up by the private sector. Trade and investment in the region needs to be more global, he added.
Peterschmitt said Gulf countries have increased their investments in the region. The challenge for the CIS countries is to open up their economies to sector other than oil, attracting investments and technology from other regions, including the Gulf, he said.
Rusian Alikhanov, President of Argo Investment Company, Russia, said GCC countries brings politically unengaged capital to the CIS region. The immediate requirement is to start developing business relations and GCC countries have a big role to play considering that they are in a position to understand the real situation in the region, he said.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Forum has been organized on the theme, ‘Ancient Routes – New Opportunities’, and explores opportunities on old trading links to neighbouring regions and beyond as well as new Economic Union Eurasian alliances.