The 5th EU-GCC Business Forum Concludes at Expo 2020 with Senior Speakers from Europe and the GCC

Press Release – 23-10-2021

Businesses and government leaders from the European Union and the GCC came together at the 5th EU-GCC Business Forum that focused on how to drive the post-pandemic recovery in the EU and the GCC towards a green and digital transition. The event took place at Expo2020, Dubai, UAE on the 23rd of October 2021 with panel discussions that covered different topics as part of ‘Accelerating GCC Economic Diversification After the Crisis – The Way Forward’.

“Our well-established EU-GCC cooperation provides the right framework to advance together towards a sustainable economic model. As we move on, we should learn lessons from the pandemic and use the opportunity to do things better” said Mr. Margaritas Schinas, Vice-President of the European Union

The forum involved sessions that covered topics such as Enhancing EU-GCC Trade & Investment, Innovation & Economic Acceleration, and Trade & Investment Opportunities in the GCC with speakers from Europe and the GCC region that discussed the potentials for each segment and future plans.

“The possibilities are huge for more EU-GCC economic cooperation, trade and investment in an increasingly green and digitalised global economy. We should tap on the full potential of this emerging new dimension of cooperation between our regions. I am sure that today’s impressive EU-GCC Business Forum will contribute to this objective in a significant and tangible way” said Mr. Stefan Schleuning, Head of Unit, FPI.4-Industrial Countries and Foreign Policy Support.

Session 1 covered “Enhancing EU-GCC Trade and Investment Opportunities” thathighlighted the importance of Innovation labs for women to prepare them for highly paid roles withextraordinary skills; eliminate gender and social gaps; in addition to promoting business opportunities arising from the transition. The points covered:

  • In Digital and green: very significant challenges regarding climate change; it takes visionaries to seize these opportunitiesto fund smart agriculture and export to the rest of the world.
  • Chemicals, machinery, manufacturing, transport – can take a greener and more digital framework. Smart mobility is an area for investment; waste energy plants provide additional opportunities for private sector to invest; smart cities combine green and digital areas and there are many opportunities for knowledge exchange and business partnerships.
  • How to make sure SMEs take advantage of green and digital.? SMEsdo not only have to be agile butalso to overcome challenges around financing.
  • How is public finance is best directed to increase trade and investment?e.g.designing policies to support trade and investment in the GCC in addition to commercial law reforms to allow 100% foreign ownership of business. Attracting companies to UAE and providing their founders with Golden Visas for 10 years.
  • UAE has strong capital markets, sovereign funds, banks that invest in start ups to help them scale up.

In Session 2; Speakers covered “Innovation & Economic Acceleration” including the EU space programme which provides full access to data collected freeof charge for the benefit of the world as a whole. Water scarcity which is a big challenge for the region; and the efforts that are being made to reduce food waste and increase energy from food waste.

Session 3in concluding the event included presentations from the 6 GCC countries. Some of the interesting points thatwere covered by the UAE speaker included:

  • The UAE had advanced 9 ranks in the inflow of foreign investment in 2020, to 15th globally, with a growth rate of 11.2%
  • The UAE advanced 6 ranks globally in the outflow of foreign investment in 2020, to rank 13th globally.
  • The UAE’s Golden Visa is available in the UAE for international investors and top talent from around the world, providing them with visas for up to 10 years.
  • The UAE’s investment environment is marked by stability, modern infrastructure, effective economic policy, and modern economic legislations.
  • Laws to protect foreign capital (Such as IPR, Competition, Money Laundering, and Trusts) are either in place or being updated.
  • Ambitious legislative reforms to ensure efficiency, transparency, and investor confidence are underway.


About the EU-GCC Dialogue on Economic Diversification project

The EU-GCC Dialogue on Economic Diversification is a project funded by the European Commission Service for Foreign Policy Instruments.

The project contributes to stronger EU-GCC relations by supporting the GCC countries in the ongoing process of economic diversification away from hydrocarbon dependent sectors, including by funding regular EU-GCC Business Fora.

The purpose of this project is to promote climate-friendly trade, investment and economic affairs related policy analysis, dialogue and cooperation between stakeholders from EU and GCC at both regional and country levels in the context of the GCC economic diversification process.

For more information and to set up media interviews with speakers, please contact:

Zeina Akkawi

PAZ Marketing Management

Phone: +971 50 453 4464

Zeina Al Jamal

PAZ Marketing Management

Phone: +971 50 176 6390

Rania Nseir

Event Management & Communications Expert

EU-GCC Dialogue on EconomicDiversification

Phone: +971-2-657 3415

Mob.:   +97155 665 4003