The Gulf Research Center
First Al-Jisr Research Project Workshop
With the support of the European Commission
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
February 1-4, 2009
A first Al-Jisr research project workshop is the first in a series to look at the challenge and potential of economic growth and diversification in the GCC, including an analysis of how the benefits of the expected Free Trade Agreement (FTA) can best be reaped. The specific topics to be addressed within the framework of the larger research project are:
· the GCC economies’ comparative strengths and weaknesses related to the labour market, unemployment and migration; female participation in the economy; and education and economic development.
· changes in the Gulf business environment with respect to privatisation and government ownership, business regulation, and the strengths and weaknesses of the private sector, as measured by global indicators.
· the potential for economic diversification (downstream integration into refining, petrochemicals and other energy-intensive industries and its implications for EU industry and the global environment; the competitiveness of Gulf industry outside of the above-mentioned sectors; and the potential for specialisation in other services, including tourism).
· domestic energy consumption in the GCC countries including domestic pricing of various hydrocarbon and the recent trends towards acquiring a nuclear power generation component.
· the Gulf financial sector, focusing on trends of regulatory change, financial diversification, regional and international consolidation of banking intermediaries, the Gulf’s potential as regional and global hub, and the behaviour and future of the GCC’s Sovereign Wealth Funds.
· GCC monetary unification, discussing future scenarios of exchange rate policy, currency pegs and monetary policy.
· the Gulf region’s future position in the global economic context, with special reference to relations with the other Asian countries, with the European Union, the Mediterranean Arab countries, Iraq and Yemen.
On the basis of these sectoral and institutional lines of research, the project aims to arrive at a number of integrated future scenarios to judge the region’s regional and international economic role as well as the shifting functions of state and business in it.