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GCC total industrial investments up

Sharjah: The number of companies in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) jumped from 7,089 in 1998 to 15,165 in 2012, while the number of industrial workers increased from 559,420 to 1.34 million, and the total value of industrial investments from $81 billion (Dh297.91 billion) to $338 billion during the same period, according to the Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC).

Most of these investments were in sectors of chemical industries, oil refining, base metals, construction metals, building materials and food industries, GOIC said during the ‘Conference on the Reality and Prospects of UAE National Industrial Sector’ which began on Sunday at Expo Centre Sharjah under the patronage of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

The conference is aimed at promoting Emirati high quality industries, both regionally and internationally, as well as discussing ways of developing and diversifying them.

GOIC Secretary General, Abdul Aziz Bin Hamad Al Ageel, in his keynote speech, said, “More than 83 per cent of GCC industrial firms are small and medium industries, but most industrial investments are in the area of big industries (more than 95.8 per cent of the cumulative investments in the industrial sector of the Gulf).”

“The contribution of the industrial sector to GCC countries’ GDP ranged between 9.5 per cent and 10.5 per cent between 2001 to 2012, excluding 2008 when it was reduced to 8.5 per cent due to the global financial crisis.”

GOIC Secretary-General reminded GCC governments and industrial investors that “knowledge-based strategies rely on competitive advantages in different countries. Therefore, industries with competitive advantages have a wide reach and benefit from established skills. They need comprehensive political reforms to provide a vibrant work environment which reduces bureaucracy barriers, improves access to financing and regulatory and statutory frameworks, and help improving education that is the first milestone towards responding to the pressing need for human capital.”

Al Ageel added that “governments should play a larger role in providing knowledge networks and public-private partnerships (PPPs). Such measures would reinforce knowledge-based industries, give priority to small and medium knowledge-based industries and boost privatisation.”