Oil would not be the future driving force of the Gulf economies, said Qatar Minister of Energy and Industry HE Mohammed bin Saleh al Sada in Riyadh on Sunday.
In light of the decline in oil prices, he said the Gulf economies needed to rely on a variety of resources in the future, and added that without productive foreign investments, these economies would not achieve sustainable development.
He was speaking at the opening of the Qatar-Saudi Arabia (KSA) forum. The forum is being orgnaised by Qatar Chamber and the Council of Saudi Chambers, and held on the sidelines of”Made in Qatar Exhibition 2016″.
The forum was attended by Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Abdul Aziz al Falih, Qatar Chamber Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al Thani, Chairman of Saudi Chambers Council Dr Hamdan bin Abdulla al Samren and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) CEO Abdul Aziz al Khalifa.
Speaking on the occasion, Falih said Qatar was one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and its GDP jumped from $8 billion in 1995 to $166 billion in 2015.
“Saudi Arabia and Qatar are looking forward to increasing the volume of investment between both countries. We are counting on the private sector to play a leading role in this regard.”
Al Sada said GCC had the potential to be a gateway to regional and international investments, and added that the volume of GCC global investments, excluding sovereign funds, amounted to $248 billion in 2015.
“The contribution of the industrial sector in the Gulf GDP is 10 percent. It is a very low rate compared to the developed countries .The majority of these investments are focused on energy-intensive industries like petrochemicals and fertilizers which are government-owned industries,” he said.
Emphasizing on the need for coordination among the GCC countries in the field of manufacturing industries, especially in the SMEs, he said he hoped to pave the way for the private sector initiatives to find a decent place on the map of production and export.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al Thani said, “We meet today as businessmen to discuss the best mechanisms that help us enhance cooperation, and remove obstacles that may prevent the flow of mutual investments between our countries.
“I am fully certain the Qatar-KSA partnership is based on the key roles played by businessmen and manufacturers in achieving the sustainable development by investing in joint projects beneficial to both countries’ economies.”