Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London

Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
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Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit speaking at the event. (Supplied)
Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
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Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit speaking at the event. (Supplied)
Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
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GCC Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani speaking at the event. (Supplied)
Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
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Mohamed Abdo Saeed, President of The Union of Arab Chambers addressing the event. (Supplied)
Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
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Mohamed Abdo Saeed, President of The Union of Arab Chambers addressing the event. (Supplied)
Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
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Dr. Sami A. Alabidi, Chairman of Council of Saudi Chambers make a speech during the event. (Supplied)
Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
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Arab British Economic Summit panel. (Supplied)
Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
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Arab British Economic Summit at Queen Elizabeth II Center in London (Supplied)
Updated 05 July 2019

Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London

Arab officials discuss Brexit opportunities in London
  • Conference, hosted by Arab British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC), tackled areas regarding infrastructure, investment, sustainable development and renewable energy
  • head of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani, spoke at the event

LONDON: Senior Arab officials and organizations met with their UK counterparts at a summit in London on Wednesday to discuss investment and bilateral opportunities, as the country prepares to leave the EU.
“Britain is on the verge of a crucial turning point in its relationships with the rest of the world,” said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. “The Arab world has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) exceeding $2.5 trillion annually. It has great economic power, wants sustainable investments in Britain, and sustainable British investments in its own countries.”
The head of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani, said harnessing the talents of young people — “a genuine asset to the region” — would be essential for any future relationship between the UK and GCC countries.
“If our societies can harness the energy and resourcefulness of our young people, then they can lead us into a vibrant new world with possibilities we could not have dreamed of a few years ago, but which to them are second nature,” he claimed.
The conference, hosted by the Arab British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC), tackled areas regarding infrastructure, investment, sustainable development and renewable energy opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa.

The chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, Sami Al-Abidi, said the Kingdom’s delegation represented Saudi Arabia’s experience in investment, infrastructure and reliance on sustainable development, as well as current projects being undertaken by the Saudi government and in the private sector. 
“Saudi Arabia has had a historic relationship with Britain with many old mutual investments, and now we are at a turning point as investment is increasing with very high returns due to the Vision 2030,” Al-Abidi told Arab News. 
Meanwhile, the President of the Union of Arab Chambers said commercial activities would expand between the two countries if the UK leaves the EU.
Mohamed Abdo Saeed said: “If the UK follows through with Brexit, this relationship is only going to be stronger and will see new British investments in the Kingdom, as well as Saudi capital in Britain.”

FASTFACT

£50 billion

The UK's trading relationship with the Middle East region exceeds £50 billion ($62.5 billion).

UK trade commissioner for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Simon Penney, said Britain’s trading relationships with the region exceeded £50 billion ($62.5 billion), and that the GCC was the UK’s fourth largest trading partner outside of the EU.
“We are very keen to partner with Saudi companies and Brexit offers many opportunities, particularly around Vision 2030, but also around future trading relationships,” he told Arab News, adding that he would be visiting Riyadh soon to follow up on their commitments and obligations toward the vision.
“We are a trading island nation that has done so for hundreds of years, and we have always traded with the Arab world, and want to ensure that those relationships are developed properly.”

The chair of the Arab International Women’s Forum, Baroness Symons, said the UK was focusing on technology, the environment, youth and their employment and women’s issues in the region.
“The Kingdom has opened not only windows, but doors as well, for women to be more engaged in the economy, get the best education and be given more opportunities,” she said.
ABCC Secretary-General Haifa Al-Kaylani stressed the long-standing relations between the two Kingdoms were “dramatically increasing” every year. 
Several Saudi businesses were present at the summit, among them Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), to shed light on the Kingdom’s investment opportunities and support new businesses.
“Saudi Arabia is now on everybody’s mind when they talk about investment and I tell people this is the time to invest because, by 2025 and 2030, there will be a great return on investment,” Frank Valle, Saudia’s manager of sales and marketing in the UK and Ireland, told Arab News.


IMF chief sees ‘high degree of uncertainty’ in global outlook

IMF chief sees ‘high degree of uncertainty’ in global outlook
Updated 14 min 55 sec ago

IMF chief sees ‘high degree of uncertainty’ in global outlook

IMF chief sees ‘high degree of uncertainty’ in global outlook
  • IMF had rapidly increased concessional financing to emerging market and developing economies
WASHINGTON: The head of the International Monetary Fund on Monday said the global lender needed more resources to help heavily indebted countries, citing a highly uncertain global economic outlook and a growing divergence between rich and poor countries.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, who has long advocated a new allocation of the IMF’s own currency, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), said doing so now would give more funds to use address both the health and economic crisis, and accelerate moves to a digital and green economy.
Under outgoing President Donald Trump, the United States, the IMF’s largest shareholder, has blocked such a new SDR allocation, a move akin to a central bank printing money, since it would provide more resources to richer countries since the allocation would be proportionate to their shareholding.
Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, the new chair of the IMF’s steering committee speaking at an online news conference with Georgieva, said it was clear the need for liquidity remained great, and she would consult with member countries on options for expanding liquidity.
Andersson, the first European to head the International Monetary and Financial Committee in more than 12 years and the first women, started her three-year term in the role on Monday.
Georgieva said the IMF had rapidly increased concessional financing to emerging market and developing economies, including through donations by member countries of some $20 billion in existing SDRs. That would continue to play an important role, but further steps were needed, she said.
“It will continue to be so important, even more important, for us to be able to expand our capacity to support countries that have fallen behind,” Georgieva said.
She said a new SDR allocation had never been taken off the table by IMF members, she said, adding that some members continued to discuss it as a possible move. A possible sale of gold from the IMF’s reserves would have “some opportunity costs” for the IMF, but would be up to members, she said.
She said she expected the Group of 20 major economies to extend the current moratorium in official debt service payments by the poorest countries, now slated to end in June, but much would depend on the pace of vaccinations in coming months.