Inside Investor Forum Asia opens avenues

H.E. Sheihk Abdul Rahman bin Khalifa Al Thani, Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning, Qatar (left), H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association (2nd from left), Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Puan Sri Ragad Waleed Alkurdi (Photo: Inside Investor)

The Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012, one of the most influential investment events that have been staged in Doha this year held on October 8 to 9, 2012, saw a number of high-level keynote speeches, panels on bilateral investment opportunities and networking sessions that prompted decision makers, top executives and officials of the GCC and ASEAN to closer scrutinise possible ventures in both regions in a move to establish concrete business partnerships.

H.E. Sheihk Abdul Rahman bin Khalifa Al Thani, Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning, held the main keynote speech in which he emphasised on the shift in global economic activity towards emerging and newly industrialised regions such as the GCC and ASEAN with new investment opportunities opening up in both blocs.

 “The prospects of joint cooperation are large, multiple, and now have an opportunity available to all parties to build solid foundations based on mutual interests,” His Excellency said.

The opening ceremony was also attended by H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association, the co-organiser of the forum.

Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud

Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, who attended the event with a large delegation, in his keynote speech invited GCC investors to come to Sarawak, pointing at the safe business environment in the state, its favourable investment rating and its vast untapped resources. The Chief Minister also held a private meeting with Qatari Prime Minister H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani to discuss possible Qatari direct investments in Sarawak. The Chief Minister told media after the meeting that Qatar has shown interest in investing not only in halal food production, but also in halal fashion and cosmetics.

“We invite investors from the GCC to Sarawak as it is a safe place for investments and the potential of the market is not yet fully utilised,” the Chief Minister said.

ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan in his keynote speech said that the GCC and ASEAN were two complimentary regions of about 650 million people and a combined GDP of $4 trillion that are bound to come closer.

“There are many goldmines to mine for our mutual benefit,” Suriwan said, mentioning the fields of energy, banking and financial services, food and agriculture, as well as infrastructure.

Kamran M. Khan, Program Director – Global Infrastructure Finance Centre of Excellence & Urban Hub, World Bank (left), Singapore ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, and moderator Firoz Abdul Hamid

“The time is ripe,” he added, “as our complementarity is inviting us to come closer. In ASEAN, we are ready.”

Surin also said that the GCC and ASEAN are going to continue their talks on a free trade agreement, which have been started with the Doha Round, a series of trade negotiations among World Trade Organisation member states.

“Eventually, we will have an agreement,” Pitsuwan said.

Kamran Saddique, CEO of the event’s organiser Inside Investor, said in his keynote speech that the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 “clearly shows that the rising interest in the vibrant trade axis between two emerging and newly industrialised regions of the GCC and ASEAN is attracting global interest from business people and investors from far beyond these blocs.”

Saddique also met with the Qatar Prime Minister on talks about the investment relations between the GC and ASEAN. The entire event was being held under the patronage of H.E. the Qatar Prime Minister.

The forum also saw a number of high-level panel discussions that touched on the topics of competitiveness, technology transfer, private equity and capital markets, Islamic finance, infrastructure and public-private partnerships, as well as agriculture and the halal industry.

The Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012, organised by international media and consultancy company Inside Investor, has been held in cooperation with the Qatari Businessmen Association  on October 8 and 9 in Doha, Qatar, and brought together business people, investors and top-level company executives from Southeast Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to identify bilateral investment opportunities in both regions. It is one high-level business event by Inside Investor that will be followed by similar conferences and summits in 2013 in Doha and Istanbul as well as in Jakarta and Manila.

 

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Arno Maierbrugger

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