Today's NZ Herald carries an interesting read penned by Mike Moore, a former Prime Minister of New Zealand with a longtime interest in Foreign Affairs and Overseas Trade. As well as being a prolific author, in 1998 he also decided to run for the post of Director General of the World Trade Organisation - a position that he won after a protracted contest, and which he held from 1999 to 2002.
His column, titled: Arab states on the frontline of progress - gives a summary of his business dealings in the Middle East.
Some of his statements include interesting information.
For instance, he writes about the discussions around the UAE creating a new currency. If they were to do this, it would rank 4th in the world behind the US$, the Euro€ and the Yen¥. That's no small-time impact on the balance of foreign currencies!
Other points that caught my attention:
~ if the Gulf Co-operation Council (the GCC - made up of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates) ever got their act together, it would be the seventh-largest economy in the developing world - twice the size of Turkey, South Africa, or Argentina. Its global savings are higher than China's, and its current account surplus on a par with China.
~ The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is second only to the Bank of Japan in terms of assets.
~ The International Monetary Fund suggests infrastructure investment will reach $800 billion by 2010. On the respected index of economic freedom, the GCC is well ahead of Russia, China, and India. Half the GCC states score ahead of Italy.
~ Only 40 per cent of Dubai's income is now resource-based.
~ Dubai now enjoys more tourists than Egypt. (I don't know that "enjoys" would be the word that I would use to describe it!)
The article is an interesting read written by a man whose credentials and experience in Foreign Affairs and Overseas Trade make him an authority in this area.
Link to article
Mike's website - Towards a World without Walls
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