Khaled Hanafi: Stimulating investment in new economic sectors

Khaled Hanafi: Stimulating investment in new economic sectors
Khaled Hanafi: Stimulating investment in new economic sectors

Dr. Khaled Hanafi, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers, confirmed during a speech he delivered during the regional session entitled “The Flow of Direct Investments to Arab Countries in the Middle East and North Africa Region: Reality, Opportunities and Challenges”, within the activities of the Annual Investment Forum AIM on its second day in Abu Dhabi – UAE The United Arab Emirates, with the participation of the President of the Union of Arab Chambers, Samir Nass, and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and a group of ministerial, official, and economic figures from Arab and foreign countries, that there is an Arab reality that must be changed with regard to the investment reality, as the volume of investments during the ten years The past is modest and does not rise to the level of aspirations and hopes.

He explained that although the volume of investments during the past year grew by 42 percent, this percentage was confined to certain sectors and a limited geographical area, as the volume of investments was about $54 billion, while the average per capita share for investment does not exceed one thousand and 100 dollars. modest share.

He said: If we look at the volume of inter-Arab investments, they range between 16 and 20 percent, with a size that does not exceed $8 billion, according to reports issued by international economic institutions, while the per capita volume of inter-Arab investments does not exceed $120, which is a figure. Very modest.

He noted that everyone realizes that this reality is completely unacceptable, and therefore there is an urgent need to change this reality, through two directions: a procedural and legislative direction, which is necessary but not sufficient, and here it is necessary to achieve the inter-Arab investment agreement, which is what we are working on as a federation. The Arab Chambers are with the League of Arab States in order for this agreement to be completed as soon as possible, in a way that benefits all Arab countries.

He stressed that “the volume of intra-Arab investments and incoming foreign direct investments is still less than required, and from here it is required to stimulate new economic sectors in the knowledge economy and the digital economy, as these sectors are witnessing a large influx of investments, and Arab countries should seek to attract more investments in the fields of technology.” Advanced, agricultural technology, electronic security, artificial intelligence, financial technology “fintech”, e-commerce platforms, blockchain technology, renewable energy, smart buildings, robotics, the Internet of things, sustainable transportation, sustainable food consumption, education technology, and other promising foreign investment sectors.

He pointed out the importance of Arab countries encouraging national companies to enter into partnerships with multinational companies and foreign investors, in order to establish more diverse projects in the region, especially major joint Arab projects, foremost of which are land, sea and air connectivity projects.

And he considered that “the ability of Arab countries to attract investment increases with the extent of their integration and the establishment of an integrated economic space. Hence, attracting foreign direct investment does not only require changing laws, but also economic policies that are inspired by sound practices in industrialized countries.”

He concluded by saying that there is a delay in interest in information and communication technology projects, which are capable of ensuring effective integration into the global economy. Hence, it is important that qualitative national policies that transfer technology and enhance food security indicators stimulate foreign investments targeting the Arab region.

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