Sharjah, UAE, 17 January 2019: HE Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, stated that the ties between both the UAE and Kosovo are historically strong, which extend back to the time of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He remarked these ties grew into an integrated economic partnership, which resulted in ground-breaking agreements on the avoidance of double taxation, and the protection and promotion of investment and civil aviation, among others.
Al Mansoori said this during the UAE-Kosovo Economic Forum, which was organized by the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The mega event was held at the headquarters of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
The UAE Minister of Economy pointed out that the trade figures between the UAE and Kosovo do not reflect the economic potentials of both countries, even though non-oil trade exchange increased to $14.1 million in 2017 as compared to the $5.7 million posted in 2016. He called for the need to combine efforts in order to enhance trade relations in the years ahead.
Al Mansoori stated that the forum will focus on identifying specific sectors that are mutually considered of vital importance between the two countries, which include trade, industry, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, logistics and renewable energy. He stressed that the UAE is particularly keen on stepping up cooperation efforts in areas pertaining to SMEs, entrepreneurship, and innovation, which are considered strategically crucial sectors in the sustainable development process of the country.
HE Valdrin Lluka, Minister of Economic Development of the Republic of Kosovo, praised the strong relations that exists between his country and the UAE. He pointed out that the UAE is considered one of Kosovo's most important partners in the Arab world, and that the country represents an economic role model that Kosovo looks to emulate in order to achieve sustainable development. He highlighted the fact that there is a common desire to enhance bilateral cooperation, and to take advantage of the Emirati expertise in various economic sectors.
The high-level delegation from Kosovo, which was headed by HE Valdrin Lluka, Minister of Economic Development in Kosovo; and HE Endrit Shala, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Kosovo, included government officials and more than 20 business leaders and investors that represent various economic sectors.
HE Valdrin Lluka extended an invitation to Emirati investors that are looking to invest in his country in various sectors. He pointed out that there are many promising opportunities for investment in Kosovo, especially in the fields of agriculture and infrastructure. He highlighted the possibility of establishing partnerships between business people from Kosovo and the UAE in order for them to form MSMEs, which are considered to be the pillars of the economies of both countries.
HE Mrs. Rejhan Vuniqi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, pointed out the uniqueness of the historical relations that exists between the two countries, as well as the need for these relations to be accompanied by development in terms of the economic and trade partnerships. She also called on the two countries to work on attracting opportunities by forming investment partnerships in both the public and private sectors.
HE Waleed Abdul Rahman Bu Khatir, Second Vice Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called for establishing direct flights between the UAE and Kosovo. He added that launching direct flights between the airports of the UAE and Kosovo will encourage trade exchange and help improve economic and bilateral relations. He pointed out that trade exchange between the two countries remains modest, especially when compared to the capabilities and commitment towards developing economic relations.
“The economic model of the UAE is a role model for emerging economies that succeeded in diversifying their resources and creating distinguished sectors. The upswing in the UAE construction sector and our leading experience in the Emirate of Sharjah in real-estate development represents a prominent field for joint cooperation. Sharjah has become a world-known investment destination in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf, as it possesses an important geographic position linked to most global trade routes, and an advanced infrastructure that provides added value to investments. Sharjah also boasts a business environment that motivates investment, as well as a legislative and legal environment that supports the private sector, and diverse opportunities in all sectors.
This thriving business environment all came to light due to the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council and the Ruler of Sharjah.” Bu Khatir added.
HE Humaid Ben Salem, Secretary General of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, clarified that the Emirati private sector is considered one of the most prominent sectors that have contributed to the development of the region, where it has played a large role in enhancing bilateral relations with other countries around the world, which has been proven through many indicators. He added that one of these indicators include the number of members of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which reached about 475 thousand members by the end of 2018. He added that other indicators include the fact that there are 33 joint working councils with other countries from the world, while the private sector employs more than 5.26 million workers and employs over 25,000 women.
The presentations that were given by the Kosovon side helped to promote the investment opportunities in Kosova, which has a strategic destination that acts as a gateway to European markets. This strategic destination has caused Kosovo to rank 44th on the World Bank's Doing Business 2019 ranking, which represents an increase of 77 ranks over the past seven years.
On the side-lines of the forum, the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kosova Chamber of Commerce (KCC). The MOU was signed by Hameed Mohammed bin Salem, Secretary-General of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Mr. Berat Rukiqi, President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce (KCC). The MoU outlined the commitment of the two sides to enhance mutual cooperation and the exchange of skills and expertise between the private sectors of both countries.