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31/01/2018 - 19:54hs

The Arab Chamber went to Davos

The organization took part in the World Economic Forum via its vice president of Marketing, Riad Younes, who followed the debates and the behind-the-scenes.

São Paulo – The vice president of Marketing of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Riad Younes, took part, as representative of the organization, of the World Economic Forum, held last week in Davos, Switzerland. Back in São Paulo, Younes presented a report about the event to the Chamber’s board of directors.

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Younes: Arabs have seen improvements in Brazil, but are being cautious

“It was very important to get to know and the behind-the-scenes is the most interesting part,” said the executive to ANBA this Tuesday (31). According to him, beyond the lectures, to check in on the repercussion caused by them among entrepreneurs, diplomats, authorities and journalists, the possibility of exchange ideas, make contacts, watch meetings and events taking place simultaneously to the event, and see deals being signed are factors that make it worth the visit to Davos.

Younes, for instance, was able to ask Arab participants on what they think about Brazil’s economic scenario. President Michel Temer and the Finance minister, Henrique Meirelles, are among the Brazilians that spoke at the forum. “They like what they’re seeing, believe that what is going on is good, with the economy’s improvement, but they approach long-term investments with caution, since there is uncertainty regarding the sustainability of this recovery, especially with the elections,” he said.

According to him, it’s based on this viewpoint that Arab journalists planned to write about Brazil in their features during the forum.

He also asked Arab participants about the Middle East and North Africa economic situation. Despite the recent rise in oil prices, there are doubts about its sustainability.

In this sense, this rise will only be able to attract more foreign investments if it’s able to remain stable for a period over 12 months.

Younes highlighted a panel on Saudi Arabia in which the Vision 2030 plan was explained in detail. The program, led by the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, establishes a series of policies for the modernization of the country, including the diversification of the economy. Took part in the debate the Arab nation’s ministers of Commerce and Investments, Majid Al-Qasabi, and of Finance, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, and princess Reema Al-Saud, vice-president of Development and Planning of the Saudi Arabia Sports Authority.

Saudi Arabia has adopted an expansionist policy. According to the Arab Chamber’s vice-president, the country for this year the largest budget of its history. For 2018, the fiscal deficit is expected to reach USD 52 billion, below the USD 61 billion registered last year. He said that the country is planning to bring the deficit to zero starting on 2023, however, without spending cuts. The majority of the Saudi’s government revenues come from oil.

World Economic Forum/Sikarin Thanachaiary

Panel on emerging economies with Meirelles

Younes added that there was a massive participation by Arabs at the Davos forum, with the United Arab Emirates’ delegation being the largest of them all with 65 people.

Other panels worth of highlight that were of interest for the Arab Chamber, according to the executive, were the following: a new growth paradigm in emerging economies – with minister Henrique Meirelles –; a shared vision of the Arab world; sustainable peace in a fragmented world; a new balance in the Middle East; global markets in a fragmented world; long-term vision for the Arab world; and stabilization of the Mediterranean region.

He also pointed out to the attendance to the forum of the prime-ministers of Iraq, Haidar El Abadi, and Lebanon, Saad Hariri, and of Jordan’s king, Abdullah II.

During the forum, Younes also found out that China and India were the stars of the event, that Brazil is negotiating Chinese investments in the agricultural sector and that Egypt will have new investments-enabling norms for this year.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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