Sharjah a ‘Gateway for International Expansion’
Key panel event, held in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi during first day of Sharjah FDI Forum, discusses importance of emirate’s foreign direct investment policy for growth Sharjah’s unique position as a gateway for international business expansion was the topic under discussion at a key panel event held in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, which took place at the opening of the Sharjah Foreign Direct Investment Forum (Sharjah FDI Forum 2016), which commenced yesterday at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah. Moderated by Courtney Fingar, Editor in Chief of fDi Magazine - organiser of the event in conjunction with the Financial Times and Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) - the morning session featured H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Media Corporation and H.E. Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, CEO of American University of Sharjah Enterprises. Also participating in the activity titled ‘Sharjah a Gateway for International Expansion’ was Badr Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Enterprises and President of Crescent Petroleum, who opened the discussion by sharing how the emirate’s geographical position and business-enabling environment were the key factors that had helped his organisation grow. “The Crescent Group, which comprises Crescent Petroleum and Crescent Enterprises, is a 45-year-old homegrown Sharjah success story of a global business realised by the conducive business environment and the vision of the Government of Sharjah to grow and diversify the economy,” said Jafar. “With its strategic location, varied sectors, well-developed infrastructure, progressive government policies and access to talent, Sharjah offers an attractive eco-system that helps businesses in the emirate stay ahead of the game. Sharjah has developed a niche as a cultural hub and has laid the groundwork for cultural diplomacy over many decades, offering a key differentiator in today’s complex geopolitical environment wherein cultural economics play an important role in international business,” he added. Further commenting on the culture of the third largest emirate in the UAE, H.E. Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, CEO of American University of Sharjah Enterprises, explained that Sharjah’s conservatism was something that should be celebrated as a key factor in its success. “Sharjah is a place that offers unique aspects of Arabian culture - this is its strength. We need to maintain that essence as we diversify our economy and bring in more foreign direct investment. People are attracted to Sharjah because of the environment it provides. We should work to dispel any misconceptions about the emirate and highlight its special attributes as a place to live, work and do business,” he said. Discussing the role of the media in Sharjah’s burgeoning economy during the discussion was H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Media Corporation. He explained how the hugely anticipated Sharjah Media City was a key plank in the Sharjah government’s policy to pull in foreign direct investment, with the development scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2017. “Sharjah’s media sector benefits from the holistic vision of its government, which is working to expand all sectors of the emirate. Sharjah Media City is a key element in this strategy and has been set up to be a major media hub in the region. It is expected that the extensive free zone will pull in foreign direct investment by drawing in companies wanting to start businesses in the media fields, as well as individual freelancers and other professionals working in the sector,” he said. The two-day Sharjah FDI Forum 2016 is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who opened the event yesterday. Attracting hundreds of corporate business leaders, public sector representatives and government officials from the region and beyond, the forum aims to offer an inclusive economic outlook for the future of investment in the UAE with a specific focus on Sharjah and foreign direct investment. The event will conclude today (Thursday) at 12:30pm.