The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), hit by the volatility in the oil market, could learn from UAE’s experience to set off on a post-oil journey, says country’s energy minister.
“The CIS nations require long-term strategies to overcome the challenges in the hydrocarbon sector. The UAE has shown that it is possible to prepare for challenges well ahead as we have shown by developing an independent strategy away from oil,” remarked Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei while speaking at the CIS Global Business Forum (CIS GBF 2016) in Dubai.
The minister called for easing regulatory norms and for more efforts to establish treaties in areas such as taxation and protection of investor interests. He said diversification of CIS economies should include diversification of energy resources, as shown by the UAE, which has significantly reduced its dependency on the oil sector.
The UAE is apparently taking the helm among the initiatives by countries in the Middle East region to diversify their economies, after Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said last February that his country would celebrate the last barrel of oil.
Central Asian markets
Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he hoped the forum will turn into a platform for the companies based in the UAE and other Gulf states to enhance trade with markets of Central Asian countries.
During a panel discussion on ‘Changing Synergies – The Reorientation of CIS Business’, experts called on the private sector in the CIS region, which has more than 280 million population and a $2 trillion economy, to tap the potential in sectors such as agro-business, infrastructure and logistics.
Jean-Marc Peterschmitt, Managing Director for Countries of Operations and Chief Operating Officer for Banking, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said CIS countries must open up their economies to sector other than oil, attracting investments and technology from other regions, including the Gulf.
Rusian Alikhanov, President of Russia’s Argo Investment Company, said GCC countries have a big role to play in the region as they are in a position to understand the real situation there.