First Sharjah-German Roundtable concluded with large scale participation
- United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, February 27 - 2013 at 12:18
- PRESS RELEASE
The first Sharjah - German Roundtable, hosted by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), in collaboration with the Sharjah Chapter of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK), at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Tuesday, shed light on a number of strategic possibilities for increased mutually beneficial cooperation between the economic sectors of Sharjah and Germany.
Speaking about the roundtable, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) CEO, HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, said, "Events such as these play a vital role in building and strengthening international trade, investment and business relations, and with over 800 German companies presently established in the UAE with a volume of trade between the two countries in 2011 exceeding $11bn, it is easy to see why the Emirates is one of the most important markets for Germany in the MENA Region."
He went on: "The purpose of this roundtable is both to offer a deeper insight into the many thriving sectors in Sharjah's economy, as well as to open up dialogue the Sharjah and German business communities so that we might better understand the needs and expectations of German companies interested in doing business in Sharjah. It is our hope that the insights and conversations shared here today and through this roundtable we will provide a starting point for a multitude of new collaborations between Sharjah and Germany."
Al Sarkal added that the Emirate's economy has always exhibited a strong historical growth, between 2002 and 2009, Sharjah's GDP registered a compound annual growth rate of 13%, one of the highest in the UAE, and between 2005 and 2009, GDP per capita increased by 50%, the fastest growth among the UAE's major emirates, however they are aiming for more than just financial growth, which is why Shurooq has identified four vital sectors for focussed development, they are healthcare, travel and leisure, logistics and transportation and environment
A presentation by the Director of Business Development at "Shurooq", Elie Armaly in which he gave an overview of Shurooq's numerous tourism related development projects, such as the Heart of Sharjah, the Kalba Eco-Tourism project, Khorfakkan Resort, and a number of other proposed initiatives. Al Sarkal also shed light on the work being done by Shurooq to foster and encourage foreign investment in Sharjah.
Speaking about the event, Dr Peter Goepfrich, CEO of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK), commented, "The cooperation between the AHK and the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has been continuously strengthening. The Sharjah-German Roundtable event brought together thanks to the strong engagement of both sides, offered a great opportunity to explore the most propitious sectors of the Emirate Sharjah, such as travel and tourism, logistics, renewable energies and the environment, as well as healthcare."
With a focus on these four key sectors, the roundtable aimed to facilitate the strengthening of the existing relationships between Sharjah and Germany's business communities as well as to foster the creation of new connections. In addition the roundtable also served as an opportunity for Sharjah's various government bodies to coordinate their overall strategies with regards to promoting Sharjah's investment sector and economy.
Representatives from government bodies and authorities active in the four respective focus sectors delivered presentations highlighting the many business and investment opportunities that Sharjah's highly diversified economy have on offer.
HE Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority said that Sharjah and the UAE have evolved a healthy and mutually enriching partnership with Germany over the past few decades and years that is not limited to economic and technological cooperation but involves extensive cultural interaction and exchange of ideas and people.
"Ours is a robust and mutually enriching relationship that has only become richer with the passage of time. And the future looks even more bright," said the SCTDA Chairman.
Al Noman pointed out that Germany is one of the main feeding markets for Sharjah's tourism sector with the Germans being amongst the largest groups of tourists visiting the emirate over the past few years. He said that Sharjah's tourism sector viewed Germany as one of its most promising and strategic markets and is looking to further expand its share in Germany and Europe.
Al Noman referred to the SCTDA's successful showcasing of Sharjah's unique tourism offering at the ITB Berlin for the past several years for which the emirate has earned itself several awards.
"Besides, we have been conducting special road shows in major German and European cities to promote Sharjah and its distinct and authentic tourism experience, heritage and world-class tourism and family festivals for discerning international travelers and visitors," said Al Noman.
In a presentation detailing the services and advantages offered by Sharjah's various freezones, Mr Humaid Al Khatri, Commercial Director of Sharjah International Airport - Freezone Authority (SAIF-Zone), emphasised the vital role that the freezone model has played in Sharjah's economic development. "There are a number of reasons that the SAIF-ZONE has become one the most significant investment and business hubs in the Emirates, of which offering 100% foreign ownership and 100% exemption from personal and corporate income taxes is but one. Since we first started operations in 1995 with a mere 55 registered companies, we have grown exponentially and now are home to well over 5200 companies from a 138 distinct countries, a truly phenomenal achievement,' Al Khatri remarked. He went on the stress that by continuously upgrading their infrastructure, services, and facilities, and ensuring that they offer the latest scientific and technical expertise the SAIF-ZONE, aims to continue to attract foreign investors and thus contribute to Sharjah's economy.
Mr Binu Pisharadi, Commercial Affairs Manager of Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC), said: "Sharjah Healthcare city's main objective is to set a perfect solution for the ever growing healthcare needs and allied services in the region by allowing foreign direct investment in the sector. Our commitment is to create a destination that offers trusted and holistic solutions in healthcare for all mankind. So we intend to service and fulfill the needs of all demographics within the City with as many options possible in healthcare"
He went on to add: "The Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC) will offer prospective investors i.e. individuals and companies across the globe an excellent investment opportunity in the field of healthcare and related fields under convenient free zone rules and regulations through single window service system."
In addition, Ali Al Fadhly, Senior Commercial Executive at Gulftainer Company Limited spoke about the fast-paced development taking place in Sharjah's travel and transport industry, while Khaled Al Huraimel, CEO of Integrated Environment and Waste Management company, Bee'ah, explored the many advances being made in the field of renewable energy and the environment, as well as the vast potential that this sector offers for future economic growth.
The Sharjah Chapter of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK) in collaboration with the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) is working on establishing Sharjah Chapter. The purpose of the establishment will strengthen the relationship between AHK and the Emirate of Sharjah, create greater understanding of the needs and expectations of the Sharjah business community, and to integrate the community within the framework of the Chapter. By means of its Local Chapters, AHK will bring together local authorities as well as German and local businesses, and promote economical as well as social and cultural cooperation.
Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world.
Shurooq's key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the emirate, evaluate tourism-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.
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