Dr. Khaled Hanafi, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers, said that there is an Arab reality that must be changed with regard to the investment reality, as the volume of investments over the past 10 years is modest and does not rise to the level of aspirations and hopes.
This came during a speech he delivered during the regional session entitled Direct Investment Flow 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 – United Arab Emirates, with the participation of the President of the Union of Arab Chambers Samir Nass, Secretary General of the League of Arab States Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and a selection of ministerial, official and economic figures from Arab and foreign countries.
The volume of investments during the past year
He explained that although the volume of investments during the past year grew by 42%, 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, that’s a modest share.
He added: If we look at the volume of inter-Arab investments, they range between 16 and 20%, with a volume 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 modest number. very.
And he continued: Everyone realizes that this reality is absolutely 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 become effective as soon as possible, for the benefit of all Arab countries.--
He stressed that the volume of intra-Arab investments and incoming foreign direct investments is still less than required, hence what 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, food consumption sustainability, 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.
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: 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.