Dubai's Leading Businesses Chart Growth Plans for Middle East at World Economic Forum in Jordan

Travel News Asia 20 May 2005

The Corporate Office, Dubai (TCO) presented Dubai as a role model for growth and economic prosperity in the Middle East region at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, head of the UAE delegation from The Corporate Office, outlined ideas to help both private and public sector entities maximise opportunities in the current climate of change and opportunity in the region.

Bin Sulayem, who is also Executive Chairman of the Ports Customs and Free Zone Corporation, put forward several strategies for improving co-operation between Middle East states and other markets around the world. His audience included a number of ministers, senior government representatives and chair persons of private and public sector companies.

Citing the example of Dubai as a role model for the region, Bin Sulayem said that the future of the region lay in building an investment-driven economy and moving to an innovation-driven environment. "Through a combination of making ourselves more attractive to foreign investors, by developing global marketing platforms, and by investing in technological infrastructure, Dubai has become an international commercial and economic hub and a leading tourist destination.

The city of Dubai is now on the global stage and clearly offers itself as a successful role model for other nations in the region."

He continued, "There is a growing need for public and private sectors to invest in the future of the region by creating jobs, speeding economic development and reducing our dependence on natural resources. Given the regions rapidly increasing population, which is estimated to rise to more than 400 million in the next 15 years, and the unabated pace of industrialisation, our collective focus should be on building forward-thinking infrastructural networks be they physical or information based."

He urged Middle Eastern states to emulate the recent success of the portfolio of companies under the TCO banner which have inspired international acclaim including the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority and Nakheel's spectacular real estate developments including The Palm islands and The World. 

"With more than US$25-billion worth of properties currently under various stages of development, Nakheel provides direction to sustainable growth in the Middle East, where mixed use developments like The Palm create truly sustainable communities with services and utilities serving a single area. Our Ports and Free Zone operations are recognised as world-class, showing that we can provide the necessary air, rail, sea and road infrastructures to fuel growth. Dubai Maritime City will become another example as the first purpose-built maritime facility designed to meet the needs of a diverse global marine and maritime audience.

Addressing the issue of intra-regional cooperation, Bin Sulayem said that despite several projects that are underway with a mission to create long-term economic wealth and new business opportunities in the region, much more is needed to strengthen ties. He called upon governments to support a broad spectrum of reforms in pursuit of greater transparency, openness and development to cater to young and growing populations.

"Almost 70 percent of the Arab population is under the age of 30 while another 50 percent is under the age of 18, and this signals tremendous hope for the region, if we get it right and foster new talent and grow wisely.

"Dubai has shown the world that progressive reform in the Middle East can be achieved. We now seek to inspire and work with opinion formers and to play a key part in bringing about real change in business, government and society. Without such reforms, we jointly face the prospect of missing out on the advantages of playing a leading role in the world economy and failing to develop the potential of our people," he said.

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