OIC focuses on SMEs to reduce impact of crisis

Sharjah will host 13th Islamic Commercial Exhibition from April 24 to 29 at Expo Centre (FILE)

Under the umbrella of the Organisation of the Islamic Countries (OIC), Islamic countries will focus on small and medium size businesses in the next phase to help faster recovery from the impact of the global economic recession.

This was revealed in a press conference held by Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry announcing the commencement of the 14th Private Sector Forum in Islamic Countries and the 13th Islamic Commercial Exhibition from April 24 to 29 that will be hosted by the UAE in Sharjah under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

“Meetings have been held by committees of the different member states and recommended focusing efforts to encourage SMEs during the time of recession to help push the economic wheel and recovery from recession,” said Saeed Obaid Al Jarwan, Second Deputy Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

To be attended by high level officials of OIC member states, participants will discuss importance of SMEs in achieving sustainable development, he said.

The event will offer a platform for the 57 member states to discuss how to encourage the setup of SMEs, eliminate obstacles and challenges and review successful initiatives, said Mohammed Salem Al Musharrakh, Head of the Forum’s Committee.

While UAE federal and local officials, businessmen and traders will highlight investment opportunities and facilities offered by the country, he said.

The Forum’s which will be attended by representatives of banks and financing institutions will also focus on the issue of financing for SMEs, said Al Musharrakh.

The event is also aimed to discuss increasing the volume of intra-trade between OIC member states, said Hussain Al Mahmoudi, the Chamber’s Director General.

According to the OIC annual report the intra trade between member states went down to $426bn in 2009 from $551bn in 2008 recording 22.5 per cent drop. The UAE topped the list of active member state in intra trade recording $50bn and 11.73 per cent of the total volume. Turkey came second with $46.43b or 10.86 per cent and Saudi was third with $39.86bn or 9.34 per cent of the total Islamic states intra trade volume.

“The UAE and Sharjah focus efforts to support economies of Islamic countries by offering business environment and initiating partnerships. It is the age of creating economic blocs and OIC is looking forward to create a bloc for Islamic states to enable standing before the economic giants and ensure sustainable economies and real partnerships,” added Al Mahmoudi.

Exhibition

The exhibition which will promote Islamic products will be held on 16sqm area 1000sqm of which is allotted to the UAE, and 50 square feet for each of India and China. The participation is open also to countries that have Muslim communities, said Al Jarwan.

Sixty per cent of the area has been booked. Sharjah Expo will also offer B2B meeting halls for traders and businessmen can discuss expanding businesses in overseas markets and exploring new markets, said Al Jarwan.

Answering whether there is a plan to set up a permanent centre for Islamic Commerce, Al Jarwan said that there had been discussions with the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank for the establishment of such a centre. “The initiative is still pending reaching agreement on certain points. Yes there is a plan for such a center.”

Saif Al Madfa, Director General of Sharjah Expo said that the success of the event hosted by the emirate in 2002 resulted in an increase in trade and partnerships among OIC member states to agree on holding it once again in the UAE.

“Until today about 36 member states have confirmed their participation in the exhibition,” added Al Madfa.

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