High-ranking politicians and business decision-makers from Germany and the Arab World participated in this year's 21st Arab-German Business Forum. They advocated expanding economic relations between Germany and Arab countries, as well as maintaining successful and open trade. The Prime Minister of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad al-Sabah held a keynote as the guest of honor of the forum and representative of this year's partner country. The event's patron, German Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, also spoke at the opening Ceremony.
The forum was organized by Ghorfa – Arab German Chamber of Commerce & Industry in cooperation with the Union of Arab Chambers, the German Industry and Commerce Chamber (DIHK) and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. About 600 representatives of Arab as well as German companies attended the event in Berlin. Ghorfa Secretary-General Abdulaziz Al-Mikhlafi first welcomed the guests, emphasizing that Arab-German economic relations are not limited to trade in goods, but also include knowledge sharing, technology transfer and mutual investment. After all, Arab investment in Germany amounts to more than 100 billion euros, making the Arab countries a major investor in the German economy. Volker Treier, Deputy CEO of the DIHK clarified that German exports to the region are at a considerable level. At around 50 billion euros per year, the volume of trade between Germany and the Arab world is greater than that with Africa or South America.
Peter Ramsauer, President of Ghorfa said in his speech that personal meetings and talks are the cornerstone to this successful collaboration. In view of the great challenges that international trade is currently facing, it is all the more important to maintain this friendly cooperation. Dr. Ramsauer therefore appealed to all present to seize the opportunity and develop strategies with which an open trade can be designed on an equal footing in the future.
Mustafa Adib, Lebanese Ambassador and dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps in Berlin, and Nael Al-Kabariti, President of the Union of Arab Chambers reiterated in their speeches that both sides benefit from successful cooperation. Both emphasized that economic prosperity was the basis for development and stability in the Arab countries. Numerous sectors offer potential that not only offer German companies business opportunities, but also benefit the local people directly.
Dr. med. Adib emphasized that the expansion of the energy sector as well as the education and health sectors are of paramount priorities to the Arab countries. The cooperation between Germany and Kuwait are but an example of the good German-Arab relations. Kuwait invested in Germany as early as the beginning of the 70s. "Kuwait was a pioneer and we have held this position to this day," said Ali Al-Ghanim, chairman of the Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce, in his keynote speech. The relationship between Kuwait and Germany is already very good, but there are still great potentials. The Prime Minister of Kuwait and the Federal Minister Peter Altmaier also highlighted their belief in more potential between both countries.
Federal minister Altmaier described in his speech the friendly relations as exemplary and praised the good investment climate in the country. Commenting on the current challenges in world trade, the minister appealed for the continued flourishing trade and said, "Let us show the benefits of economic cooperation." The total number of Kuwaiti investments in Germany has now risen to 30 billion euros, as the Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah in his keynote clarified. This is a key indicator of strong economic relations between the two countries, said the Prime Minister. He explained that Kuwait's investments in the world's fourth largest economy range from the industrial and real estate sectors to the banking sector. He also confirmed the opinion of previous speakers by saying: "German goods are synonymous with the highest quality." German exports According to Kuwait last year had been worth more than 1.3 billion euros.
The United Arab Emirates were well represented in the forum by members of the Embassy headed by HE Ambassador Ali Abduallah Al Ahmed. The Economic and Trade department of the Embassy was present, represented by Mr. Khalfan Al Matrooshi, Head of the department. There was also a high-ranking delegation from the UAE. HE Abdullah Al Owais was in attendance in his capacity as chairman of the Sharjah chamber of commerce and Industry as well as CEO of Rawaby Group. HE Abdullah Mohammed Al Muwajai, chairman of Ajman Chamber was also in attendance.
Two prominent Emirati business leaders took part in one the panel discussions under the title "Food Industry: Building Partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security". HE Mohammed Al Mazrooei, President and Chairman of the Board of the Arab Authority for agricultural investment and development (AAAID) discussed models of sustainable agriculture and food security in the Arab world. In the same panel discussion, Dr. El Rashid Dafallah Mohamed, CEO of Emirates Modern Poultry Co. – Al Rawdah, gave a presentation with the title "Poultry Industry in the UAE: The Prospects and the Constrains" in which he discussed the challenges and opportunities this niche industry is facing and what potential mechanisms could be implemented to advance this industry in the UAE.