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UAE witnesses significant changes throughout society: Sheikh Abdullah

posted on 04/12/2006: 530 views

The United Arab Emirates is embarking on significant changes throughout society to set free those energies and to stimulate a spirit of competitiveness in which the government and the private sector, in partnership, can flourish, said Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the annual general meeting of The Arab Business Council (ABC) which kick-started yesterday at Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi as part of the Dafus World Economic Forum, Sheikh Abdullah said "the UAE fully identifies the goals of enhancing economic competitiveness in the Arab world and working to equip Arab societies to compete in the global economy and to contribute to the development of an equitable society." The UAE "welcome(s) the blueprint for action that you have adopted, including its commitment to educational reform and its call for Governments to adopt a policy of open economies," he remarked.

The UAE shares "the belief that economic growth must be sustainable to achieve its ultimate ends, and that this objective, in turn, can only be achieved in societies where the energies of competitiveness are set free by Governments that trust their peoples, and where those peoples are liberated from the savagery of war and oppression to build their own lives amid freedom and tolerance", he added.

Sheikh Abdullah said the current meeting "represent(s) another important step forward in improving the economies of our region, and, most important of all, in improving the standards of living of (Arab) peoples." "Over the past decade, we (in the UAE) have done much to open up our economy further - and that has been reflected in a rate of growth that is predicted this year to see a 23% rise in our Gross Domestic Product, of which our oil and gas sector will represent less than 30 per cent", he noted.

Sheikh Abdullah added stressed that the UAE welcomes Foreign Direct Investment, noting that the country received a third of the total FDI for the entire Arab world." "There is, though much more to be done", he remarked, adding that "in that process, the role of the private sector is crucial, and it is (Arab business leaders), as the leading representatives of the private sector in the Arab world, who are called upon to play the leading part." "One or two projects in the UAE might welcome a bit more inter-Arab FDI", he remarked.

"The Emirati private sector would be delighted to have a quiet word with (those interested in taking part in those projects)", concluded Sheikh Abdullah. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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