Seminars in Hamburg and Berlin part of Shurooq's strategy to establish Sharjah as international investment hub
The first of the seminars, on March 3rd, took place at Handelskammer Hamburg, while the second, on March 4th, was at IHK Berlin. Both events involved presentations focused on four key investment sectors: Travel and Tourism, Transportation and Logistics, Environment, and Healthcare. Shurooq's delegation included HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer of Shurooq, Elie Armaly Director of Business Development of Shurooq, Fidel Faraj, Head of Asset Management of Shurooq and Hatem Heidar, Tourism Executive at Shurooq. Accompanying members of Shurooq to the seminars were representatives from the four sectors: HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), Claire Micheletti, Marketing & Communications Director at SCTDA; Meera Taryam, Director of Environmental Services & Education the Sharjah Environment Company (Bee'ah), Nada Taryam, Senior Project Manager at Bee'ah; and Binu Pisharadi, Commercial Affairs Manager of Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC). Speaking about the seminars, HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said, "We are extremely pleased with the immensely positive feedback we have received from the participants in these two seminars. There is no doubt that Sharjah has a great deal to offer the German business community and as trade between our countries continue to grow we are looking forward to the establishment of many new highly mutually beneficial partnerships." Trade between the UAE and Germany has grown substantially in recent years, with figures indicating an increase of 23 per cent from 2011 to 2012, amounting to EUR10.5bn. Preliminary results further more show significant further gains in 2013, meaning bilateral trade has almost trebled over the last decade. This makes the UAE the largest Arab market for German products, accounting for almost a third of imports into the region. There are currently more than 1,000 German companies in the UAE, while around 12,000 German nationals also live in the country. Giving a rounded overview of Sharjah's investment potential, the seminars featured presentations by representatives from Shurooq, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, The Sharjah Environment Company (Beeah), and Sharjah Healthcare City. Shurooq CEO, Marwan Al Sarkal introduced the four key investment sectors and made use of the opportunity to highlight a number of projects currently under development by Shurooq, including Al Jabal Resort - The Chedi Khorfakkan, Sir Bu Nair Island, Mlieha, the Heart of Sharjah, Al Bait Hotel, Al Majaz Waterfront, the Flag Island, the Kalba Eco-tourism project, Al Montazah Amusement and Waterpark, and Al Hisn Island - Dibba Al Hisn, stating that each of these have been carefully designed to stimulate the local economy, while also providing foreign investors with unique opportunities to capitalise on the phenomenal growth being witnessed in the tourism and leisure investment sector. For his part, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, underlined the immense growth and development potential of Sharjah in general and the tourism and hospitality industry in particular saying that the latest projections show that the Emirate's travel and leisure sector is likely to grow from AED1.24 billion this year to AED1.49 billion by 2016. Al Midfa said that the Authority has been working with all public and private sector stakeholders in Sharjah's growth, to proactively promote and showcase the Emirate as a complete tourism and investment destination with distinct and globally acclaimed Arab and Islamic heritage, culture and a diverse leisure and tourism landscape. Pointing out that Sharjah is celebrating its crowning as the Capital of Islamic Culture this year, Al Midfa said that this is an ideal time for international tourists in general and European travellers in particular to visit Sharjah as the Emirate pulls out all stops to celebrate the best of Arab and Islamic civilization and its rich cultural heritage. The Emirate has lined up a series of special events and activities throughout the year to celebrate the OIC Capital of Islamic Culture honour including a special presentation titled 'Clusters of Light' by German Film Orchestra Babelsberg later this month in Sharjah, he added. Spotlighting Sharjah's leading role in the environmental sector, Meera Taryam, Director of Environmental Services & Education the Sharjah Environment Company (Bee'ah), outlined how Bee'ah, in collaboration with the Sharjah government are working together to address the issue of waste in the region and build a strong waste management infrastructure, with the ultimate goal of leading the emirate of Sharjah to become the first city in the Middle East to achieve Zero-waste-To-Landfill as early as 2015. Within this framework, Taryam emphasised the wide-ranging opportunities for German companies, who are known for the high premium they place on sustainable practices, to invest in this sector in Sharjah, remarking that Bee'ah are actively seeking partners, technology providers, and investors for a number of sustainable projects in the Middle East. "Bee'ah is spearheading the development of sustainable and economically viable solutions for waste management and to thereby drastically reduce Sharjah and by extension the UAE's carbon footprint," Taryem commented. Sharjah's burgeoning healthcare sector was presented by Binu Pisharadi, Commercial Affairs Manager of Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC). Pisharadi emphasised the rapid growth that healthcare in Sharjah is currently undergoing, pointing out that the industry is expected to grow by 9.3% from its current AED 4.59 Billion to AED 6.55 Billion in 2016, which will create a vast array for prospective investors in Sharjah's healthcare and related fields. "Germany's reputation as global leaders in healthcare is well established and we are very eager to avail the opportunity to work with German companies as we continue to build Sharjah's healthcare sector," Pisharadi remarked. In addition to the seminars, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), is participating in ITB Berlin, the world's leading travel trade show, which is taking place from the 5th to the 9th of March. Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. The Authority's key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate, evaluate tourism and investment related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.