Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chief Minister sees prospects for foreign investors
HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Khalifa al-Thani delivering his opening address at “Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012” at the St Regis Doha yesterday. Right: Abdul Taib bin Mahmud
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
Qatar’s economic diversification and laying the foundation for a knowledge-based economy will create numerous opportunities for local and foreign investors including those from the Asean region, said HE the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Khalifa al-Thani.At the opening session of the “Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012” at the St Regis Doha yesterday Sheikh Abdulrahman said interaction between the GCC countries and the Asean, two emerging blocs, was growing with strong commercial and economic ties.
He also said the sizeable participation of delegates from the Asean countries in addition to China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Europe, the US and Latin America showed their interest in the region, particularly Qatar.
Sheikh Abdulrahman urged the conference participants to explore the investment opportunities in Qatar.
In his remarks, Abdul Taib bin Mahmud, chief minister of Sarawak (Malaysia) said his state’s vibrant economy provided many new opportunities for investors. Sarawak has been able to attract and retain several foreign investors and multinational companies.
“We have managed to attract and retain several foreign investors and multinational companies. We have a strong and stable economy, which will ultimately give an edge in the world market.”
Mahmud also spoke about Sarawak’s initiative on promoting renewable energy. The Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) is aimed at improving the earnings of the people to make sure they have good income and be part of a high-income economy that Malaysia is trying to achieve by 2020.
In a note the event organisers said the expected economic integration of Asean member countries (from 2015) will give the entire region further stimulus that companies and investors can capitalise on.
The average economic growth of Asean-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) during the last two decades stood at 5.37% annually. This indicates the momentum of foreign investors attracted to the Asean economy will continue into the near future owing to the region’s sound economic growth and vast economic potential.
While the US and Europe are experiencing slow economic growth, Asean has been continuing with its vibrant economic development because of its economic liberalisation, the democratisation process in Myanmar and Cambodia’s admission into the WTO, all of which has contributed to greater economic potential in the region.
The Asean countries have ambitious plans to grow to high-income nations in the foreseeable future, supporting the shift of global wealth from the West towards Asia. The GCC countries, which are diversifying their economies away from hydrocarbon resources, have a role to play here.
The GCC countries have been intensifying their economic relationship with Asean in the last few years. The total trade between Asean and the GCC was valued at $83.25bn in 2010 compared with $67.3bn in the previous year.
The two-day event is organised by Inside Investor in association with the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA). 

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