CAIRO - The second Higher Committee meeting of the Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Development kicked off today in Cairo in the presence of Dr. Nevin Jameh, Egypt Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Yousef Al Shamali, Jordanian Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply.
At the meeting, the Higher Committee announced and welcomed the Kingdom of Bahrain as a new member of the Partnership represented by Zayed bin Rashid Alzayani, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Bahrain.
Bahrain, a major producer of raw aluminum and iron ore, will increase the partnership's total industrial manufacturing value add from $106.26 billion to $112.5 billion. Bahrain boasts a strong industrial sector with more than 9,500 companies and 55,000 employees and $4.3 billion in industrial Foreign Direct investments.
The Partnership aims to establish large joint industrial projects, create job opportunities, contribute to increasing economic output, diversify the economies of the partner countries, support industrial production and increase exports.
The Higher Committee also reviewed a presentation by the Executive Committee, delivered by Abdullah Al Shamsi, Assistant Under-Secretary, Industry Growth, at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, Dana Alzoubi, Secretary-General of the Jordanian Ministry of Industry and Supply as well as Hatem Alashry, Advisor to the Egyptian Minister of Industry and head of the Executive Committee.
As a result, 12 projects worth US$3.4 billion have been shortlisted and will move into the feasibility studies phase. In total, the Executive Committee received 87 industrial project proposals focused on fertilizers, agriculture and food. In the next phase, the Partnership will focus on the metals, chemicals, plastics, textiles and clothing sectors.
The delegation also included UAE ambassador to Egypt, Maryam Al Kaabi, Jordan ambassador to Egypt, Amjad Al-Adayla, and Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to Egypt Dr. Khaled Fahad Alalawi as well as Hisham bin Mohammed Al-Jowder, Assistant Under-Secretary for Industrial Development at Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Bahrain and Mohamed Hassan Al Suwaidi, Managing Director and CEO at ADQ, amongst others.
In her remarks, Dr. Nevin Jameh stressed the significance of the industrial partnership in confronting the economic consequences of the global crises and highlighted the importance of the private sector engagement in sustainable development for the Arab World.
"This partnership is key to ensuring value and supply chains, reaching industrial self-sufficiency, and creating more jobs," said Jameh, adding, "We welcome Bahrain to join this partnership, which will help maximise the benefit of the industrial capabilities of the four countries."
"To make use of this initiative, partners shall exchange science and technology expertise, set up industrial partnerships, and take advantage of the partners’ markets to promote multilateral trade," she further said.
"Egypt’s government is very keen to do what it takes to support this partnership and pave its way so that it can achieve its targets," she added.
Meanwhile, Yousef Al Shamali said, "Today’s meeting is a continuation of the executive committee meetings held over the past two days and a culmination of weeks’ long sectoral workshops of experts in the fields of pharmaceuticals, agriculture, fertilizers and food." He noted that this progress has been achieved two months after the launch of the partnership in Abu Dhabi.
Jordan, he pointed out, is keen on supporting all aspects of joint Arab work, as instructed by King Abdullah II, and today’s gathering shows how the leaders of the three countries share a common vision about joining efforts to create a comprehensive economic project.
"The meeting highlighted the political and economic ties binding our nations, and ushers in a new era of joint action and effective economic integration with tangible impacts," the minister added.
He further noted that Bahrain’s joining in the partnership will give a boost to the initiative, accelerating the pace of achieving the desired economic integration.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber highlighted the UAE’s commitment to the partnership, saying, "The vision of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan emphasises the role of cooperation, collaboration, synergies and integration as key enablers for economic development and growth that support stability and prosperity. We aim to leverage the partnership’s combined strengths, competitive advantages, and capabilities to help build a strong foundation for sustainable economic growth."
"Today, we welcome Bahrain as a vital and dynamic addition to the partnership. Bahrain’s industrial sector plays a crucial role in sustainable economic development. I would also like to thank the Arab Republic of Egypt for hosting this second meeting of the Higher Committee. We look forward to reviewing these joint projects and assessing the next steps required from private sector companies, government agencies and supporting bodies to ensure the projects’ feasibility to ensure rapid implementation," Al Jaber said.
"I call on companies to leverage the competitive advantages and opportunities for partnership available in each of the participating nations and to conduct their own feasibility studies to maximise their projects’ chances of success. As government agencies, we must identify the key enablers these projects require to succeed and do everything in our power to help companies overcome potential obstacles. Rest assured, we will provide support to ensure that industrial companies can be confident in investing in and implementing successful projects. This combination of government support with private sector commitment will help the partnership achieve maximum sustainable economic and social benefits," he added.
He concluded, "The Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Development is open to any party who wishes to contribute to the development of the industrial sector, promote integration across industries, and leverage the competitive advantages offered by the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, and now Bahrain. Our combined efforts and teamwork will enhance the development of the companies and countries involved in this partnership by reducing costs, safeguarding supply chains, creating more jobs, boosting self-sufficiency, planning for the future and applying the latest technology."
In his speech, Zayed Alzayani conveyed the greetings of H.R.H Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, and his appreciation for the Kingdom’s admission to the partnership. He explained that the partnership reflects a strong will to promote industrial integration between Arab countries and the world, while seeking to achieve sustainable industrial development. This aligns with the visions and aspirations of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, to enhance economic development and create new opportunities.
"The Kingdom of Bahrain has achieved continuous success and growth in the industrial sector over the past decades. This is a result of the policies adopted by the government since the 1960s, which aimed at reducing reliance on oil and natural gas, and diversifying the industrial sector by setting up factories in the fields such as aluminum. This was in addition to establishing new industrial zones and attracting foreign investments by encouraging industrial projects and providing the necessary infrastructure," he said.
"In order to advance the industrial sector, the government launched the Industrial Sector Strategy (2022-2026) on 30 December 2021, as a pivotal part of the post-pandemic economic recovery plan. The strategy aims to increase the industrial sector's contribution to GDP, increase exports, and provide jobs for citizens. The strategy is based on adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution, implementing the concept of a circular carbon economy along with effective environmental and social governance policies, encouraging investment in technological infrastructure and manufacturing automation, and increasing the efficiency of supply chains to build a developed and sustainable industry," he added.
"Through this strategy, we target a number of industries relevant to sectors included within this partnership. We believe that this provides growth and prosperity opportunities for the manufacturing industries in the aluminum and petrochemical sectors, in addition to industries including renewable energy, and green and blue hydrogen, which support Bahrain’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, along with the food, pharmaceutical industries, and microelectronics industries," Alzayani concluded.
The second meeting of the Higher Committee of the Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Development approved the Partnership’s joining guide along with the minutes of the Committee’s first meeting. Reports were also presented on the agriculture, food, fertilizer, pharmaceutical, textile and clothing and metals sectors, while CEOs of industrial companies offered their insights.
In 2019, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, and Bahrain accounted for 30 percent of the Middle East and North Africa’s industrial contribution to GDP, totaling $65 billion worth of industrial exports. The countries’ combined population is 122 million, representing 27 percent of the Middle East and North Africa and 49 percent of the region’s youth population under 24.
The value of foreign direct investment in the UAE, Egypt and Jordan reached $151 billion between 2016-2020, comprising 42 percent of new foreign direct investment in the Middle East. The total value of the countries’ exports stood at $433 billion in 2019, while imports amounted to approximately $399 billion.
The addition of Bahrain, which has a GDP of $39 billion, will greatly enhance the Partnership and contribute significantly to its results. The Partnership is expected to increase the GDP of member countries by $809 billion by unlocking billions worth of opportunities across sectors, including $1.7 billion in the food and agricultural sector, $4 billion in the minerals sector, $1.7 billion in chemicals and plastics, and $0.5 billion in medical products.
Since 1975, Bahrain has invested heavily in its industrial sector as part of its efforts to enhance economic diversification. The country has established new industrial zones and has also worked to attract foreign investments by encouraging and promoting industrial projects. Bahrain’s industrial sector is supported by prominent local industries including petrochemicals, plastics, aluminum smelting, food processing, textiles, engineering, ship repair, iron granulation, fertilizer manufacture, and a vibrant banking sector.
Bahrain exports metal products worth $4 billion annually and allows full foreign ownership in the industrial sector. Bahrain is a competitive operational hub in the Arabian Gulf region. Mina Salman, a port in the capital of Manama, is characterised by its world-class loading, shipping, and export and import operations.