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Sheikh Hamdan hails success of Dubai 2003 and the global development

posted on 27/09/2003: 1773 views

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, has hailed the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund that closed in Dubai on September 24 as a 'resounding development success', saying that the 'Dubai 2003' event exceeded all expectations. He said that not only had the organization of the event been flawless but also that the role of the UAE in terms of driving the development debate had been "extremely active".

Speaking after the close of the meetings, Sheikh Hamdan said, "We are extremely proud to have been able to successfully host this gathering of the global financial and development community in what represents an unprecedented opportunity for the Middle East. The event was attended by some 16,000 delegates amid an overwhelming sense of international cooperation and solidarity." Sheikh Hamdan said that the ability of the UAE to stage such a high profile international event in such a flawless manner was largely due to the visionary leadership of President H.H Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and H.H Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who have ensured that the country can provide the world class infrastructure and facilities required for such meetings. Sheikh Hamdan attributed the decision to host the meetings in the UAE to the country's economic strength, its long history of political security and the role it has played in the international arena.

"The UAE is rapidly becoming an economic role model for the region with a business friendly environment, an open and liberal economic policy and ten years of solid GDP growth which has averaged 5.8 percent annually and 8 per cent for the non oil sector," said Sheikh Hamdan noting that over two thirds of the country's UAE GDP is now derived from the non-oil sectors.

Sheikh Hamdan said that part a large part of this stability was due to the country's commitment to achieving good governance and its continual drive for greater transparency. "In line with IMF and World Bank recommendations, we have pursued a very active policy in terms of accountability and inclusiveness such that the IMF has acknowledged the UAE as one of the most transparent in the region." He pointed out that the UAE has disclosed its Article IV Consultation report from the IMF in full, has adopted a system of E-Government to enhance the transparency of government operations and has produced a national Performance-based Budget in 2003 for the first time, in line with World Bank accountability recommendations.

Sheikh Hamdan also said that the UAE is now fully compliant with anti-money laundering recommendations of both the UN and the Financial Action Task Force and is actively engaged with the IMF's General Data Dissemination System to ensure full statistical disclosure. He also pointed out that choosing Dubai as the location for the meetings builds on the country's historical role as a moderate intermediary and a generous donor nation.

Sheikh Hamdan said that the event was particularly important, given the global spotlight on economic development issues in the Middle East. The UAE, he said, had aimed to facilitate a productive and fruitful debate between the global and regional development and financial communities.

Reconstruction in Iraq was a key issue on the agenda. Sheikh Hamdan pointed out that the Arab countries have a sound track record in providing development assistance. He said that the meetings allowed for a further consolidation of the already strong relationships that exists between Arab regional funds and international development organizations. Arab aid organizations include the OPEC Fund for International Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Islamic Development Bank and the Arab Gulf Program for the United Nations. Collectively Arab aid organizations have provided over $70 billion dollars of aid over the past 30 years to 147 countries. Sheikh Hamdan said that all countries must strive to meet UN recommendations for aid assistance.

On the Joint Arab Statement, delivered by the UAE Minister of State for Finance and Industry, Dr Mohamed Khalfan bin Kharbash, Sheikh Hamdan highlighted the key areas of concern which comprised the need for developed countries to take a more active role in assisting their developing counterparts and ways and means of leveraging the global economic recovery.

In particular, Sheikh Hamdan noted that the Joint Arab Statement called for reform in developed countries in order to support that of developing countries. The Arab countries called upon the IMF to enhance the quality and effectiveness of its surveillance of major industrial countries and in particular the macroeconomic imbalances in these countries with a view to achieving greater stability in the exchange rates of major currencies and in accelerating structural reforms.

The Statement also called for improved governance in the Bretton Woods institutions and said that Arab countries would welcome any progress achieved in enhancing the voice and representation of developing countries in this respect. Sheikh Hamdan noted that the region had called for more efforts to ensure that the interests of the majority of the membership are better reflected in the decision making process, with a view to strengthening global ownership and the legitimacy of both institutions and their policies.

In addition, there was much support for increased efforts from the private sector support arm of the group - the International Financial Corporation (IFC). Building on the essence of the discussions of the WTO Cancun, Sheikh Hamdan said that a particularly fruitful debate took place regarding how the developed world can help poor countries grow their way out of poverty. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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