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Doha Time & Temperature

Sustainable growth ‘must for Mideast’
Gulf Times/
Monday, 10 March, 2008, 02:34 AM Doha Time

Business Reporter

HE Kamal addressing the conference last night
DOHA: With energy prices and stability in the Middle East providing the necessary environment for investments, the onus is now on the region to achieve sustainable development for posterity, Finance Minister HE Yousef Hussein Kamal said here last night.
Addressing the 3rd Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future conference, Kamal said Qatar had found a viable business module for its economy and it was creating the right conditions for investment.
Quoting former US president Bill Clinton’s speech three years ago that the Middle East would become the hub for the hydrocarbon sector, Kamal said though the region had been able to achieve an enviable status, more needed to be done especially in the other sectors for ensuring diversification.
The need of the hour was to create a favourable environment for sustainable development, he said, adding Qatar was striving to do so, especially considering its investments in the education and scientific research.
However, he conceded that the growth in the economy in Qatar as well as in the region due to high energy prices had also brought with it inflation.
Greek Deputy Minister of Mercantile Marine Panos Kammenos said the Gulf region could not afford to miss the opportunity created by the negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Political settlement will not be complete unless it ensured economic co-operation and integration, he said.
Noting that “a new international economic order has come about”, he said cross border trade would develop new synergies in the Middle Eastern region.
Professor Steven L Spiegel, director, University of California Los Angeles Centre for Middle East Development, said the conference has drawn increased participation ever since it was launched two years ago.
In the present conference, he said 47 countries had sent in their representatives compared with 32 in the previous session.
Lord David Trimple, Nobel Laureate and former Northern Ireland first minister, also spoke on the occasion.

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