His Excellency Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, today inaugurated the 21st meeting of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) Committee of Ministers of Planning and Development, held in Abu Dhabi. He underscored the importance of the meeting in enhancing joint efforts to boost the economic development of the GCC region.
Mr Al Mansoori said that GCC countries have witnessed remarkable achievements over the past decades, which covered all areas of development, marked by strong rates of growth, high standard of living and increase in per capita income.
He said that the GCC economies have also achieved significant success in diversifying their economies moving away from over dependence on oil, and expanding to industries, commercial activities, transport and tourism. Alongside, the countries also achieved social progress underscored by high standards in healthcare and literacy levels.
Mr Al Mansoori said that the GCC has also leveraged the advantages offered by the IT sector and implemented e-Governance initiatives that have enhanced overall efficiencies. “The economic variables that prevail globally make it imperative that we adopt economic policies and visions to maximize economic gains for our countries and keep up the momentum of development. This will complement our qualified human resources, diversified economies and strong infrastructure,” he said.
Mr Al Mansoori added that the challenges facing the Gulf Cooperation Council including high import bills, non-oil trade deficit, and labour market and demography concerns cannot be ignored. “It is important to focus on budgetary allocations, diversifying exports and expanding bilateral trade and mutual investments in addition to creating new jobs for GCC citizens.”
The meeting discussed a number of topics including follow-up measures to implement the decisions of the Supreme Council at the 31st session and discussed the objectives and course of the development strategy for 2010 – 2025.
The meeting also discussed the general framework of the unified population strategy in the GCC countries and mechanisms to activate statistical standards for the GCC countries. The participants called for coordination between Statistical institutions in the GCC countries with a focus on population statistics to formulate policies that address demographic concerns.
The Committee has also viewed the report on current situation of GCC population for the period (2008 2010), and has welcomed the organization of the Development Conference of the Arab countries to be held in Qatar in November 2011. The Committee also requested the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council to start working on building database for experts in various disciplines in the countries of the Council with involving universities and research centers to take advantage of their experiences.