GCC co-ordination is needed to boost SME sector: minister


HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada has stressed the need for “industrial co-ordination” among Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries in manufacturing industries, particularly the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector.

He was addressing the Qatar-Saudi Economic Forum in Riyadh yesterday.
The event was held on the sidelines of the “Made in Qatar” expo in the Saudi capital.
Attention to industry will bring about sustainable development in the GCC countries, al-Sada said.

The minister also called on the private sector to provide initiatives for the youth to enable them “to find a decent place on the map of production and export”.

The minister pointed out that Gulf investments abroad, estimated at $248bn in 2015 (excluding sovereign funds), “will not achieve the sustainable development we seek unless they are balanced by productive foreign investments for the next generations”.
He said that the contribution of the industrial sector in the Gulf GDP is 10%, which he said was “very low” compared to other developed countries.

“The majority of these investments are focused on energy-intensive industries like petrochemicals and fertilisers, which are government-owned industries,” al-Sada explained.
The minister stressed that the GCC is an “active economic power” not only at the regional level but globally as well.

“The Gulf region is replete with potentials and powers that will enable it to be a gateway to all kinds of investments.

“Low oil prices and the political instability in our region helped us foresee a much more realistic look. Oil will not be futuristically the active and mobilising power in the gulf economy,” al-Sada said.

On the “Made in Qatar” expo, al-Sada said co-operation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s business communities are “extensive and ready for further investments in many sectors”.
“The ‘Made in Qatar’ expo represents a good opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences and display products and capabilities,” he added.

Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani said that the forum and expo will not only showcase “Made in Qatar” products in the Saudi Arabia market but is an opportunity for both countries to develop economic and trade relations.

“I am fully certain the Qatar-Saudi Arabia partnership is based on the key roles played by businessmen and manufacturers in achieving sustainable development by investing in joint beneficial projects for both countries’ economies.

“We should seize this opportunity to create more partnerships and joint ventures to take advantage and explore new areas of co-operation between our countries,” Sheikh Khalifa said.

Made in Qatar 2016 expo was organised by Qatar Chamber for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

More than 200 Qatar companies are expected to participate in the event, which will run until November 9 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition.

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