In his Keynote Address at the ECSSR 22nd Annual Conference

4 Apr 2017

Mohammed Alardhi, Executive Chairman of Investcorp, a leading provider and manager of alternative investment products, gave a keynote address today at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) 22nd annual conference in Abu Dhabi. The conference was held under the title ‘The Future of the Region: Oil Price Challenges’.

Addressing an audience of distinguished business leaders, professors, policymakers and thinkers, Mohammed Alardhi discussed the regional and international economic developments and their implications on the business landscape in the Arab region and the world at large. He said, “The Arab region today is in the midst of fundamental geopolitical and geo-economic shifts defining the strategic environment in which states, businesses and individuals will operate in pursuit of their interests. This new landscape has brought to the fore, at least three key challenges policy makers will face as they work on mitigating the impact of lower oil prices: Sustainability, Reform pace and momentum and Regional economic security”

Mohammed Alardhi underlined the importance of the recent economic and fiscal reforms in the GCC region, and emphasised the need for further collaboration in order to adapt to the ever-changing environment in the global marketplace, saying, “Streamlining the public sector, adopting a more restrained and responsible fiscal stance is essential. It should go hand in hand with labour market and education sector reforms in order to secure more sustainable outcomes.Although the adjustment differs in pace and intensity depending on domestic conditions, countries have started transforming their economies in phases away from oil based dependent activities. In the UAE in particular, the IMF (August 2016) reports that crude and natural gas contribution to the overall 2015 GDP was 32% suggesting 68% to be non-oil revenues. This is a huge achievement by the government of the UAE.”

Alardhi added, “Ambitious plans and initiatives such as Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030, UAE’s vision 2021, Oman’s National Program for Economic Diversification ‘Tanfeedh’, and Kuwait’s economic and fiscal reform programme go in that direction, but still require proactive engagement, outreach and communication and greater involvement of local stakeholders in the policy process.”

The conference took place on 21 and 22 March, and included a range of panel discussions, exploring the developments in the field of energy and the future of domestic stability in Arab states.