UAEIIC participates in forum and exhibition AgraME 2019

05 Mar 2019
UAEIIC participates in forum and exhibition AgraME 2019
The UAE International Investors Council participated at Agra ME 2019 as an Exclusive Investment Partner. The event took place on 5-7 March 2019 at Dubai World Trade Center under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates.
During the conference, AAAID organized a session of presentations on agricultural investment, delivered by H.E. Mohammed bin Obaid Al Mazrooei, President of AAAID, H.E. Abdalla Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and H.E. Jamal Saif Al Jarwan, Secretary General of the UAE International Investors Council. The presentations aimed at providing the participants with information on the investment climate in Arab countries and the investment opportunities available to AAAID in Arab countries. Whereby HE President Al Mazrooei discussed the different projects and activities of the Arab Authority, the companies in which AAAID contributes, the sectors in which it works and AAAID’s contribution to reinforcing food security.
H.E. Jamal Saif Al Jarwan, said The UAE economy is moving towards sustainable growth; as our wise leadership, may God protect it, has devoted its efforts for many initiatives that will promote the economic diversification processes; since the economic diversification approach adopted by the UAE Government for many years was the safety valve for the national economy in facing the wave of fluctuations experienced by the global markets lately, and the adoption of reducing the oil's contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
At the UAE International Investors Council as an institutional umbrella that partakes in caring, monitoring, and promoting the diversification of the UAE economy and the flow of the cross-border investments, we find that our topic today "Agricultural Investment" is the backbone of our future; as it is considered a focal point and a driving force for the development and one of the most important pillars for strengthening our food security system paths, increasing the agricultural investment and raising the efficiency of the important foundations that must be relied upon to achieve higher economic and social growth rates in the Arab countries.
Whereas the agricultural development occupies an advanced position in the scale of the economic and investment policies priorities in many development and economic reform programs in the Arab countries; due to the importance of agriculture as a source of food and raw materials, and as a sector that absorbs a high proportion of the labor force.
By studying the development of the GDP in the Arab world as a whole, the Arab agricultural product was estimated by about 140.75 billion US Dollars in 2017; i.e. a decline of 2.5% compared to 2016, and the agricultural product in 2017 represents 6.4% of the GDP, which is a rate that was almost stable during the past three years. The agricultural sector’s contribution rate in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Arab region varies from one region to another; as the agriculture sector’s contribution rate in the GDP in the Central Region amounted to about 18.69%, and about 12.95% in the Arab Western Region, and 3.85% in the Arab Easter Region, while contributing to about 2.07% in the Arabian Peninsula Region; in addition to the increase in the contribution of other sectors such as petroleum, mining and tourism.
According to the agricultural product estimates in 2017, Sudan has topped the list of Arab countries regarding the agricultural sector’s contribution to the GDP, as it amounted to about 36.03%, followed by Mauritania by 34.89% and then the Comoros by 29.65%, and it ranged between 7.23% to 15.21% in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Somalia and Morocco; while this rate declined in the GCC countries; due to their limited agricultural resources, ranging from 2.75% in Saudi Arabia.
Some developments have occurred in the agricultural product of the Arab countries in 2017 compared with the previous year; as the agricultural product recorded a significant increase in some Arab countries, including Mauritania, Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain and Djibouti, at rates ranging from 6.61% in Djibouti and 14.64% in Mauritania.
This improvement in the product is due to the increase in the agricultural area, the use of advanced technology, and the agricultural policies applied by some countries, along with providing facilities to the private sector.
In contrast, the agricultural product in a number of other Arab countries such as Libya, Palestine, Iraq and Syria has declined by 30% in Syria, and this decline is due to the unfavorable weather and the precarious security situation in some countries.
At the present time, all the Arab countries seek to promote their food security paths by increasing their investments in the food commodities production field, whether through domestic or foreign investment, along with developing the food production systems, especially after the growing challenges faced in this regard.
Among the most prominent of these challenges are those related to the growing food gap in the Arab region, which was estimated at 33.6 billion US Dollars in 2017.
- Single-crop farming.
- Pesticides.
- Lack of capital despite the presence of their agricultural banks.
This is in addition to the growing importance of taking environmental considerations into account and avoiding the negative effects represented in the increasing desertification, the soil, water and air pollution, and the destruction of grasslands and forests (climate change).
With the escalation of the stunning numbers threatening the approach of a food crisis; due to the imbalance between the growing population and the available natural resources and the increase in the economic development ambitions; this may show the difficulty in achieving sustainable development.
Therefore, attention must be given to the investment in the agriculture sector, with its both segments; as it is considered the cornerstone for the economic and social development in the Arab world, and that is by maintaining the available resources and working on developing them to provide health food, clothing, and raw materials for the Arab local industries; especially since the Arab countries are the world's largest importer of grain. Wheat is a very crucial element in the Arab’s food system; however, the countries depend on imports, the matter which puts food security at stake.
Despite making significant scientific achievements lately, particularly the innovation in the fields of biotechnology, genetic engineering, and modern irrigation methods and means, which benefit the agricultural sector and its related activities in terms of research, development and production, there are many developments that increased the relative importance of agriculture; as the total area of the Arab countries amounts to about 1402 million hectares, and the arable area in the Arab world is estimated  by about 220.13 million hectares in 2017, where about 72.36 million hectares thereof are actually exploited in agriculture, i.e. a rate of 32.8%.
How can we make a difference?
Investment in the agriculture sector provides excellent investment opportunities and achieves attractive returns for the companies, and it also supports economic diversification and sustainable development and enhances the food security system for our Arab world. The targeted investments can reduce the cost of import bill.
The private sectors’ companies were unleashed to write its glories with successes in many sectors; most notably the successful experiences for the investments of many UAE companies in the agricultural sector field, with its segments (agricultural, industrial, and production)
There is an urgent need to unify the Arab policies, the Arab trade, and the customs tariffs... and most importantly, to comply with the above.