ABU DHABI / WAM
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, on Tuesday said the UAE will use its new role as chair of the Kimberley Process for 2016 to highlight and enhance its efforts to facilitate global trade and commercial ethics.
He was speaking at the Kimberly Process Intersessional 2016 held at the Atlantis Hotel the Palm in Dubai.
In 2003, the UAE became the first Arab nation to join the Kimberley Process. The Kimberley Process started when Southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000, to discuss ways to stop the trade in ‘conflict diamonds’ and ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments.
“The UAE has long been recognised as a globally important hub for trade. For centuries, our great nation has been a trading post on the busy silk and spice routes from China in the East to the West,” he said.
Today, he added, these routes are experiencing significant structural change as we see the flow of goods changing course to meet the needs of developing nations across the African and Asian regions, where new cities and centres of consumption emerge almost daily.
Amidst all this change, the UAE remains strong, resilient to the rigors of the global economic climate, flexible to the needs of our trading partners and, above all, prepared for any future that we may face, according to Al Mansouri.
He added, “It is this ethos that has further driven the UAE’s determination to diversify its economy beyond hydrocarbons and into many complementary sectors.
We have built successful economic sectors around the financial services, transports, tourism, industry, trade. And in 2015 introduce innovation as a tool to expedite diversification.
“The UAE Economy has proven to be among the strongest economies regionally and the most promising globally,” Al Mansouri said.
He added that over the past ten years, the UAE economy has maintained high growth rates averaging 5.5%, confirming its strength through a very challenging period.
“Thanks to the UAE’s wise leadership and their efforts to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil, which fall in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and the national agenda, the contribution of non-oil sectors to the national economy has reached around 70%, leaving only 30% to the oil sector.”
Nevertheless, the Minister Al Mansouri said, oil continues to remain important to the UAE. We have so far made significant strides in a number of sectors and plan to lower the contribution of oil to the GDP to less than 20% by the year 2021.