Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
At 47 United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become “land of prosperity”. It has made quantum leaps since its inception 1971. It has been a miraculous transformation from sand to space adventures.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan are strategic partners. Due to rapidly changing socio-economic scenarios and geopolitical trends in terms of global trade wars, economic protectionism, disintegration of economic blocs, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, CPEC and BRI it is the need of the hour that both brotherly countries must re-establish functional strategic partnership for the further strengthening of socio-economic integration, greater food and energy security, better political understanding and above all energy cooperation in the days to come.
United Arab Emirates has celebrated its 51 national day on December 2, 2018. Economics of UAE-Pakistan bilateral relations is based on a strategic partnership owing to which both countries have been assisting each other in different sectors of survival and production in the past.
UAE has been one of the main investors in Pakistan in its different sectors i.e. infrastructure, real estate industry, banking, telecommunications, insurance, aviation and the last but not the least energy. According to official figures, UAE has more than GDP of $ 450 billion, 30 percent of which is generated from export of oil and petroleum products, while 70 per cent of the revenue is being earned from tourism, transport, plastic industry, renewable sources of energy and financial services etc. Its macro-economy prospects of 2018 and beyond are very strong and bright. A number of UAE companies are currently operating in the country, including Emirates National Oil Company, International Petroleum Investment Company, Etisalat, Dana Gas, Al Ghurair, Emaar, DP World, Abraaj Capital, Thani, Danata, Atharihra Agricultural Company, Julfar, Emirates Investment Group, and Arab Company for Packaging and Al Nasser Holdings.
UAE’s free economic zones are proving ample opportunities for FDIs and joint ventures for the public-private partnership due to which businessmen and investors of Pakistan must avail this golden opportunity to invest in it. Exchange of business delegations is important to explore new avenues of cooperation.
The people of Pakistan have a special affinity for the UAE, its people and its leadership. The bilateral trade between the two countries was about $7 billion in 2015. UAE and Pakistan enjoy cordial relations but their bilateral trade of over $8 billion is not reflective of the actual potential of both countries. Bilateral trade between UAE and Pakistan has reached $8.3 billion (Dh30.4 billion), recording a significant 9.4 per cent increasing during the last fiscal year 2016-17. Trade between the two countries stood at US$7.7 billion in 2015-16 but we have witnessed a positive development during the last year. Imports from UAE to Pakistan increased last year from $6.62 billion to $7.23 billion whereas exports from Pakistan to UAE have decreased about 1.83 per cent from $1.08 billion to $1.06 billion
Being prominent regional expert on UAE & GCC I suggest that for further increase in trade volume, Pakistan must closely work with the UAE authorities to increase export of fresh fruit and vegetable from Pakistan. Government of Pakistan may also finalize plans to operate a speed vessel from Karachi to Dubai to bring perishable items within 48 hours, reducing the current sailing time of up to eight days.
For achieving the desired goal of greater socio-economic integration, high volumes of trade, connectivity and better political understanding both countries should focus on promoting strong connectivity between their private sectors and facilitate frequent exchange of trade delegations that would help in further enhancing current volume of bilateral trade. Moreover, the UAE acknowledges vast foreign direct investment and joint venture opportunities in infrastructure development, electricity generation, water desalination, agricultural-based industries, insurance and real estate in Pakistan.
Both countries should focus on developing strong linkages between their youth and women entrepreneurs by creating platforms like youth and women business councils that would help in promoting sustainable trade and economic relations between both countries.
Being strategic partner of UAE, Pakistan offers great investment opportunities to the UAE’s investors in various sectors of its economy including infrastructure development, power generation, water management and agro industries. UAE-Pakistan should explore joint ventures (JVs) and investment in aluminum products, horticulture, farming, dairy farming, livestock, financial sector, pre-fabricated houses and affordable low income houses. Moreover, two countries should strengthen their SMEs to achieve more beneficial results.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a role model for the regional as well as emerging countries in the world in terms of socio-economic prosperity, happiness, qualitative life, sustainability, law and order and the last but not the least diversification of economy, energy and productive channels. The UAE GDP increased more than 236-fold from Dh6.5 billion in 1971 to Dh 1,540 billion in 2014 which has been further strengthened and progressed due to governmnet’s business and investment policies.
It has pioneer in regional space pursuits. It is hub of foreign direct investments. It is an ideal center of multiculturalism. It has already been ranked one the safest and happiest countries in the world. It has diversified economy which is smart too. It has unique national policy of diversification of energy resources in the region as well as in the world. Its service sector is flouring and adding its position in the overall GDP. Despite low oil prices in the region and world its macro-economy is stable and sustainable.
UAE has already started its journey of space, outer space and beyond Mars which is now in upswing. Its journey from sand to space agency is a miracle. Its leaders have strategic vision and its people are dynamic enough to achieve all the unrealized dreams.
UAE’s business and investment friendly policies have successfully transformed its national economy into of a knowledge-based economy. Now it is the ideal hub of all kinds of business and investment activities and operations. It is one of the ideal destinations for the interested businessmen and investors alike.
Its economy is the most liberal entity in the GCC and MENA. It is 2nd largest economy in the region in terms of volume. It is ranked first in terms of quality, performance and production too. Vision 2021 has transformed its economy and made it more attarctive, innovative, competitive and smarter.
Diversification of economy, energy and production has already made its macro-economy stable and sustained. Massive industrialization, rise to private sector, robust service sector, SMEs and rigorous commercial diplomacy has successfully mitigated the spillover effects of region and world’s weak economic conditions. Moreover, its resilient banking and financial sector provide the strategic cushion to finance many mega projects to create more and more jobs.
UAE is the one of the happiest country in the GCC, MENA and of course the world which shows that it has economics of happiness where people always prefer over corporate profits. Its unmatched socio-economic development is vertical as well as virtuous. Its diversification of economy and energy resources is horizontal as well as harmonious.
UAE’s government is people friendly. It has strategic orientation too. It has clear and comprehensive plans to achieve desired goals of socio-economic prosperity, de-carbonization development of renewables and zero discrimination system and society. Creation of ministries of happiness and tolerance is a giant step in right direction. It means a lot to its government, system, people and elements of peace and harmony in the society. It would mean sustainable development, environment friendly policies, strengthening of pure Emirati values and above all promotion of good governance.
Politically, UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the region. Gradual politicization is on the right path in shape of regular Federal National Council Elections. It stimulates best understanding of national politics and of course policies. It upholds culture of accountability and transparency. It empowers Emiratis which is deep-rooted democracy of the UAE, a unique model. Moreover, political stability has made it heaven for businessmen, investors, workers, laborers, and tourists alike.
On the front of human values, UAE has par excellence. There is no issue of human rights violations as somewhat propagated by the biased Western media. Its judiciary is fair and free. Its legislations are workers friendly due to which it is the ideal destination for residency, talent, recruitment and performance in the world.
Its tolerance level is unmatched. More than 200 different nationalities are working in the UAE which is the prime example of its official policies about interfaith harmony, peace and tolerance. Not a single decree and not a single incident is anti-racial ever happened/reported in seven Emirates since inception. UAE stands for human development. It is the grand total of human values and humanity alike. There is no concept of gender discrimination throughout the country. All people, factions, groups, castes and colors have equal rights before the law and even “Emiratis” do not have any leverage what so ever. Law is supreme. No reporting of prejudice, discrimination and humiliation towards weaker sections of the society in the country. Expatriates are well protected and paid.
In UAE, the writ of the state and effective judicial system is upheld with high reverence. Governments across the world should learn due lessons from these high-standards of governance. Even the West acknowledges that the security and safety across UAE are par excellence. Expatriates truly feel privileged to work, live and raise a family in a safe and stable environment throughout the UAE. They are happy to note the economic, social and technological developments of the UAE. It has become the ideal choice to work and plan a career among the Arab youth.
UAE’s banking system is stable and resilient. Compared internationally, the Emirate banking industry is highly sophisticated offering state-of-the art products and services in both consumer and corporate sectors. UAE banks are world’s most-capitalized and offer fully automated and secured banking platforms. Its prudent regulatory system has saved it from any kind of credit crisis in the country even in the ongoing global economic and financial crises. The robust Emirate banks have played a key role to support and enhance the UAE s economic growth consistently since its inception 1971.
UAE is the leading player in the green technologies. Its strategic vision of renewable energy production has achieved great success throughout the world. Renewable energy gears the pace of development. It guarantees the survival of humanity on this planet. It protects the dreams of socio-economic prosperity, stability and sustainability. It provides essential inputs of industrial productivity, generation of employment, reduction of poverty and above all promotes qualitative life and renewable/alternative energy is a value-addition.
Masdar, Its renewables icon, Masdar leads the GCC, MENA and the world. Masdar City (solar energy project) is a key element of the “Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan” and the government of Abu Dhabi’s strategic policy framework. Shams-1 is the first full scale renewable energy plant in the Abu Dhabi and largest CSP plant in the world. It will generate 100 MW covering an area of 2.5 km, with plans to increase capacity to 2000 MW in the future. Hydrogen Power Abu Dhabi (HPAD) is a 60:40 joint venture between Masdar and BP to construct the world’s first commercial scale hydrogen fueled power plant, utilizing fossil fuel feed stock and CCS.
UAE-Pakistan bilateral relations are strong, stable and sustained. Both countries value their strategic partnership for achieving greater regional connectivity, socio-economic integration, high inflows of FDIs, initiation of various joint ventures and above all further strengthening of military cooperation. Both countries have economic game changers i.e. CPEC and EXPO-2020 owing to which both countries must study befitting propositions in the days to come. Private companies of both the countries should focus on preferential areas for their further investments in the future. Food security needs to be tapped in win-win proposition between UAE and Pakistan. Further development of renewables has strategic orientation which must be jointly explored and tapped by both the countries in the days to come. Masdar input and cooperation would be decisive in the further development of energy cooperation between the two countries. UAE is the pioneer of medical diplomacy which has even benefitted people of Pakistan by eradicating polio from Pakistan. The World Health Organization (WHO) has paid tribute to the United Arab Emirates for its pivotal role to eliminate all cases of polio around the world and especially in Pakistan.
Now, UAE is among the top 20 competitive economies in the world and Pakistan’s economy is also stabilizing which must have common points, policies, projects, programs for its convergence in various sectors of economy, education, infrastructure, energy, agro-economy, civil aviation, banking, insurance and the last but not the least, construction. UAE is the first country in the region to ratify WTO trade deal. Meanwhile, the UAE remains one of the world’s top trading economies, ranking 20th globally and first in the Middle East and Africa in commodity exports. It also placed 19th internationally in commodity imports and led the Mena region in overall commodity trade, with regional exports totalling $265 billion to account for 1.6 per cent of the worldwide total in 2015, according to WTO figures. The Pakistani businessmen and investors must avail plan to get maximum advantage from UAE ratification of the WTO in order to increase volumes of bilateral trade in the days to come.