UAE maintaining economic growth in 2009 as rest of the world braces for further 1 to 2 per cent slide

Abu Dhabi, 30th Aug. 2009 : UAE Minister of Foreign Trade H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi discussed key strategies adopted by the Emirates to maintain economic growth even as the world prepares for a 1 to 2 per cent slump within the year during a speech delivered today at the opening day of the 4th Bled Strategic Forum running until tomorrow (Monday, August 31, 2009) at the Hotel Golf Bled in Bled, Slovenia.

The annual Bled forum explores strategic issues affecting Europe and the transatlantic community. This year’s edition is being held under the theme “The Politics of Economic Crisis: Redefining Economic and Geopolitical Landscapes in Europe and Eurasia.” In a speech delivered during the dinner held on the Forum’s first day, H.E. Sheikha Lubna called for more effective policy responses to reverse the current crisis. She also discussed various measures being taken by governments and businesses throughout the world to revive the global economy, such as stimulus packages and support from central banks.

“Although the downturn has primarily affected mature Western economies, it has also had a significant impact on the growth agendas of lesser-hit regions such as the Middle East. The Arab World has begun to take a more planned approach to development, which will be beneficial in the long run as it focuses on opportunities that have emerged from the crisis. The UAE in particular is well prepared to take advantage of the more positive global economic growth predicted in 2010,” said Sheikha Lubna.

The Minister spoke in front of several prominent international figures such as the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Danilo T rk, H.E. Samuel Zbogar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, H.E. Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Miloslav Vlcek, Chairperson of the Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, and Janez Fajfar, Mayor of Bled, Slovenia.

Sheikha Lubna will deliver the keynote speech and join the Panel B session on “Energy Security in an Economic Downturn” to be held tomorrow. She will outline the Emirate’s key alternative energy projects, such as the Middle East’s largest solar power plant connected to the electricity grid, the region’s first and largest wind energy project, and a USD2 billion photovoltaic film technology venture set to commence production by late 2010. The Minister’s fellow high-profile panelists will include Jean-Jacques Guillet, Deputy, Member of the Commission of Foreign Affairs at the National Assembly and Member of the Working Group of Energy, Paris.

The Bled Strategic Forum is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia in coordination with the Centre for European Perspective. The 2009 event gathers representatives from governments and international organisations, business leaders, specialists and members of academia to discuss economic and geostrategic issues with emphasis on relations between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia. Among the topics to be addressed are new global governance for the 21st century; Europe’s security structure; economic crisis as a threat to security and energy supply; stability through regional frameworks related to Eastern Europe and the Caspian region; and economic challenges in the Western Balkans.