Sharjah FDI Forum Reiterates the Importance of Partnership
Closing sessions highlight mutually beneficial relationships as being the key to business growth and success Shurooq CEO headlines panel session on investment trends forecasts for 2017, while Shurooq’s Sharjah FDI Director headlines panel session on FDI growth prospects in the region The forging of strong partnerships for business success was a key theme on the last day of Sharjah Foreign Direct Investment Forum (Sharjah FDI Forum 2016), which concluded on Thursday at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah. Organised by of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in conjunction with the UK’s Financial Times and fDi Magazine, the final day of the two-day forum saw a programme of panel activities and case studies, with the importance of reciprocal benefits for each party a central component of the discussions. “We don’t want to compete with investors, we want to work with them. That is why Shurooq was established in 2009. It was set up to facilitate strong partnerships with business entities and to bring them together. Good relationships underpin business success,” said H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq. Speaking in an interview titled ‘Positioning the Middle East as a global economic hub,’ Dr. Al Muthana, President and CEO, GE Gulf, stated: “If you are partnering with a government entity, you have to understand what their aspirations are. You need to be thinking in terms of a long-term relationship, not a one-off partnership. You need to ask yourself ‘what are the socio-economic benefits I can bring to the community,’ not only ‘what is in this for me.’” “It should be a give and take relationship characterised by good dialogue. This leads to an understanding of each other’s needs. If you - as a private sector business - can effectively communicate your needs to the government partner, it provides the government partner with an understanding of what skills sets they need to deliver so that they can ensure economic growth,” she continued. Furthering his earlier CEO’s comments on the Sharjah government’s perspective, Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, Director of Sharjah FDI, Shurooq, gave his thoughts on the importance of partnerships during the next event on the agenda, a panel discussion titled ‘Insights and perspectives on investing in and growing your business in Sharjah and the UAE. “The due diligence we do before partnering with any organisation is extremely important. We look at how long they have been established in their field, their achievements in this time and their growth. When we are in the role as a mediator facilitating two parties getting together, we always try to attend as many of their meetings as possible to get a good feel for each of the partners,” he said. Also speaking as a government representative during the same session was H.E. Khaled Eisa Al Huraimel, Group Chief Executive Officer, Bee’ah, who explained how his organisation’s connection with the community was the key to its growth. “We know the local market extremely well so have great access to businesses here. Not only that, we are part of the fabric of the local community, particularly with the educational ‘reach out’ that we do. We have strong connections with the American University of Sharjah, where we are running a project on air quality with the students there, as well as overseeing a similar initiative with the American University that has a focus on water quality. Being embedded in the community in this manner is the key to our ongoing growth,” he said. The second edition of the annual foreign direct investment (FDI) forum was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Among those attending the activities over its programme was Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq. Sharjah FDI Forum 2016 was established to play a key role in allowing investors, business leaders and other stakeholders access to the most dynamic insights, services and legislations, with the goal of promoting Sharjah as a being a gateway for international expansion. The event brought together business leaders, government officials and representatives of public sector organisations from more than 80 countries to examine the challenges and opportunities for FDI in the UAE in general and in Sharjah specifically.