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G8 and Arab nations set to discuss investments

Government representatives from the G8 and Arab countries will meet in London next month with international lenders to discuss investment opportunities.

Government representatives from the G8 and Arab countries will meet in London next month with international lenders including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Islamic Development Bank to discuss investment opportunities.

The Deauville Partnership Investment Conference, being held on September 16 is the first of its kind to encourage networking and showcase investment opportunities in Arab countries that are currently going through a transition in the wake of the Arab Spring, the British Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in a statement yesterday.

The Deauville Partnership was established in May 2011 and encourages governments, business associations and investors from the G8 countries as well as regional partners Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey and the UAE to explore investment opportunities in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Yemen.

Participants at the conference include “senior-level decision makers (including at ministerial level) from all 19 governments that make up the Deauville Partnership,” the FCO said.

The six countries in transition have all faced problems as part of the Arab Spring movement. While Jordan and Morocco have managed to limit the devastation to their economy, all six have suffered with economic and investment setbacks. Recurring political problems in Egypt and Tunisia especially have stalled investors.

“It’s further evidence of the tangible action taken by the Deauville Partnership to tackle a crucial need for these countries; how to improve the investment climate and attract the greater investment needed to grow their economies,” said Tim Stew, the head FCO's UK Arab partnership department.

The Partnership pledged US$38billion in financial aid two years ago, but so far only a limited amount of cash has come through.
Some of the projects under way currently include a $250 million fund set up by the United Kingdom to support social welfare reforms in transition countries to help to unblock funds from international multilateral organisations.

The UK government’s role also includes supporting the widening of the mandate of the EBRD outside its heartland of Europe to encompass Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

The EBRD has established an office in Tunis with the aim of investing up to €2.5bn (Dh12.2bn) in the private sector by 2015.
The Middle East and North Africa Transition Fund, part of the Deauville Partnership is backing a $2m project aimed at managing industrial waste and encouraging entrepreneurism in Egypt.

 

thamid@thenational.ae

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