Highlights of the 10th German-Arab-Economic-Forum
Thursday, September 13th, 2007
The 10th German-Arab Economic Forum scored a record with over800 participants. And for good reason, the bilateral economic relations are experiencing an enormous up-swing. In 2006, imports from Arab countries grew about 15 % to over 12 billion euros, the German export there rose around 16 % to 22 billion euros and exceeded exports to the ASEAN countries and to Latin America. The upswing is flanked by legal measures with the Arab countries that have already been met or are in the works, namely investment protection and investment promoting agreements like double taxation agreements. This positive development was praised by all of the speakers at the start of the forum in the Haus der deutschen Wirtschaft in Berlin.
Dr. Martin Wansleben, CEO of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce General Assembly and venue host of the event, Dr. Thomas Bach, president of the hosting Arab-German Association for Commerce and Industry(Ghorfa), Adel Yousef Sater, ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain and doyen of the Arab Diplomatic Corps in Germany and – foremost – Federal Economic Minister Michael Glos, patron of the event. Mohamed El-Masri an, vice president of the general assembly of the Arab Chamber of Commerce and president of the association of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, outlined the future of Arab economy; a strengthening of the private sector. Germany will gain a key role and will be the gateway to Europe. The focus of this year’s forum from July 11 to 13 was Algeria, whose fifth largest trading partner is Germany. Particularly gas production and ambitious infrastructure measures present starting points for investment. Brahim Bendjaber, president of the Algerian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, as well as the Algerian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dr. Chakib Khelil, gave the opening talks.
Eight workshops and three plenary sessions completely fill out the two days of conference and represented the wealth and diversity of subjects that Arab economic relations offer, including energy, infrastructure, financial services, training, water projects, IT and telecommunication, renewable energies, privatization, investment and technology transfer. In the partner country of Algeria there is a growing potential of investment opportunities and chances for investors with their own production and marketing. Algerians and foreigners have been made basically equal through governmental degrees. An appeal was made to German business men to become active in an increasingly secure political and economic environment – in the processing industry, in agriculture, and the food, metal and electro industries. The ongoing privatization of former Algerian state enterprises (up to now 1,060 concerns) enables partnerships on a private-enterprise basis, which is especially in line with German wishes.