UAE’s Minister of Future: Imagination, ideas are the commodities of the future

UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future Mohammed Al-Gergawi delivers his opening remarks. (Screengrab)
Updated 10 February 2019
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UAE’s Minister of Future: Imagination, ideas are the commodities of the future

  • World Government Summit 2019 kicks off in Dubai
  • UAE Cabinet Affairs Minister says governments need to change

DUBAI: Imagination and ideas are the commodities of the future, UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future Mohammed Al-Gergawi said during the opening speech at Dubai’s World Government Summit on Sunday.

“Whoever owns these ideas and this imagination, will own the future,” Gergawi said, adding that “the wars of the future will be on ideas.”

Gergawi highlighted many factors that have put governments in the backseat of development as private sectors invest more and more into research and development programs. 

“Government, in their old form, cannot impact on the future, the private sector now impacts the future and we see this in the different economic and livelihood sectors,” he said.

The Emirati minister also touched on data protection, he said private companies know “when we eat, when we sleep, when we wake up, where we travel and even how many beats our heart’s beat.”

Speaking alongside Gergawi was the World Economic Forum’s executive chairman Klaus Schwab who also spoke of the danger of a global system “spinning out of control.”

“Global growth is slowing down, but global risks are increasing,” Schwab told a packed conference hall at Dubai’s Mina A’Salam hotel, “it is a system under stress, and the consequences are very dire.”

Schwab spoke of the need to move forward with globalization, and to be “more sustainable, more inclusive, to be a more multi-stakeholder globalization, and to be re-moralized.”

“All stakeholders of society must play a role in globalization, not just governments,” Schwab said.

On Saturday, the International Monetary Fund’s chief, Christine Lagarde, spoke of the challenges facing the Middle East, with rise in corruption, poor governance and lack of transparency. 

The World Government Summit, in its seventh edition, runs for three days of high-level discussion and debate by world thought leaders from the worlds of public policy, business and entertainment.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, actor Harrison Ford and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri are among 4,000 delegates who will attend the three-day event, along with Estonia’s prime minister Jüri Ratas and President of Rwanda Paul Kagame.

Apart from the politicians, the summit also brings in more than 30 global organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Saudi Aramco to sign China refinery deals during crown prince visit

Updated 53 min 45 sec ago
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Saudi Aramco to sign China refinery deals during crown prince visit

  • It will sign an MOU to build a refinery and petrochemical project in a Chinese province
  • It is also expected to formalize an earlier plan to take a minority stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical

SINGAPORE/DUBAI/BEIJING: Saudi Aramco plans to sign preliminary deals to invest in two oil refining and petrochemical complexes in China during Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s state visit to Beijing this week, according to sources familiar with the plans.
Saudi Aramco, the world’s top oil exporter, will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a refinery and petrochemical project in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning in a joint venture with China’s defense conglomerate Norinco, said three sources with knowledge of the matter.
Aramco is also expected to formalize an earlier plan to take a minority stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical, controlled by private Chinese chemical group Zhejiang Rongsheng Holding Group , said two sources with knowledge of this particular deal. Zhejiang Petrochemical is building a refinery and petrochemical complex in eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang.
The investments could help Saudi Arabia regain its place as the top oil exporter to China, which it has relinquished to Russia for the past three years. Saudi Aramco is poised to bolster its market share by signing supply agreements with non-state Chinese refiners.
It is not clear what new details will be in the MOU with Norinco expected during the visit, as the two companies first announced an alliance in May 2017 during Saudi ruler King Salman’s visit to Beijing.
Under that earlier MOU, the companies agreed to build a refinery capable of processing 300,000 barrels per day of crude and a facility that would make 1 million tons per year of ethylene, a building block for petrochemicals, at an estimated cost of over $10 billion.
A senior Aramco executive said last June he expected the front-end engineering for the Norinco project to be finished by mid-2019, following which the company will take a final investment decision.
Norinco public affairs officials were not immediately available for a comment.
Aramco officials did not reply to a request for comment sent by email.
Meanwhile, the Zhejiang agreement would give Saudi Aramco control of the 9 percent stake in the project held by the Zhejiang provincial government.
The agreement follows an earlier MOU that Aramco signed in October to invest in Zhejiang’s project, which is planned as a refinery to process 400,000 bpd of crude and associated petrochemical facilities in the city of Zhoushan, south of Shanghai.
Reuters was not able to immediately reach Zhoushan Ocean Development and Investment Co. Ltd, which holds the 9 percent stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical for the provincial government, for a comment.
The Saudi delegation, including top executives from Aramco, arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a two-day visit, part of the crown prince’s Asia tour, during which the kingdom has pledged $20 billion of investment in Pakistan and sought additional investment in India’s refining industry.