The pos­i­tive power of multi­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion

Ramy Zaki dis­cusses the launch of a new high-pro­file busi­ness group, and how pri­vate-pub­lic en­gage­ment will im­prove the UAE's busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS - Ramy Zaki

THIS MARCH, I was present at an ex­tra­or­di­nary event. Twenty-nine multi­na­tional com­pa­nies – the ma­jor­ity of them For­tune 500 – came to­gether along­side government of­fi­cials to launch the Multi­na­tional Com­pany Busi­ness Group, or MCBG for short. Dur­ing the launch of the MCBG, each of us un­der­lined our com­mit­ment to build­ing a bet­ter, more com­pet­i­tive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment in Dubai, the UAE and the broader re­gion, by do­ing some­thing that is still a bit un­usual for the Gulf. Through the MCBG, and with the sup­port of our part­ners and friends at the Dubai Cham­ber where this Busi­ness Group is reg­is­tered, we are com­mit­ted to en­gag­ing with the au­thor­i­ties and pro­mot­ing di­a­logue be­tween busi­ness and government on a host of rel­e­vant busi­ness, in­vest­ment and trade pol­icy mat­ters. Why are we do­ing this you may ask? My an­swer is simple. Dubai and the UAE has be­come a global hub, com­pet­ing with the likes of Lon­don, New York and Sin­ga­pore. In each of these cities and states, you will find a large num­ber of plat­forms for the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors to ex­change knowl­edge and ideas, in an ef­fort to im­prove leg­is­la­tion and by ex­ten­sion pro­mote sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment that leads to in­clu­sive growth.

Till now, there haven't been such mech­a­nisms or plat­forms ded­i­cated to both pri­vate-pub­lic pol­icy di­a­logue and part­ner­ship in this re­gion. The MCBG aims to change this; it en­deav­ours to act as a meet­ing plat­form, a cat­a­lyst of pri­vatepub­lic pol­icy di­a­logue and ex­change for the greater ben­e­fit of economies, the com­mu­ni­ties where we op­er­ate and our busi­ness. We be­lieve that a pro­duc­tive di­a­logue can cre­ate con­sid­er­able win-wins and help boost com­pet­i­tive­ness of Dubai and of the UAE. As part of our com­mit­ment, we are bring­ing to­gether ex­per­tise from var­i­ous sec­tors, in­clud­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing, tech­nol­ogy, en­ergy, food and bev­er­age, au­to­mo­tive and al­lied in­dus­tries, en­ergy, fast mov­ing con­sumer goods, health­care, in­sur­ance and re­tail. Global ex­pe­ri­ence that, if com­bined, would span hun­dreds of years. Our mem­ber­ship in­cludes Ab­bott, Al­shaya, BASF, Beiers­dorf, Clorox, The Coca- Cola Com­pany, Dow, Danone, Es­tee Lauder, Fer­rero, GE, Gen­eral Mills, Gen­eral Mo­tors, Henkel, John­son & John­son, Goodyear, Kim­ber­lyClark, Kel­logg's, L'Oréal, Mars, MetLife, Mon­delez, Nes­tle, Proc­ter & Gam­ble, Pep­siCo, Reckitt Benckiser, Shell, Te­tra Pak and Unilever.

We want to place this global knowl­edge of all these lead­ing com­pa­nies at the dis­posal of Dubai, the UAE and the wider re­gion, to help shape world- class in­vest­ment, busi­ness, in­dus­try and trade poli­cies that will make this place an even more at­trac­tive place to do busi­ness in. Through open and con­struc­tive pri­vatepub­lic di­a­logue, I sin­cerely hope and be­lieve that the MCBG can act as a cat­a­lyst for pos­i­tive change, through which we can jointly shape the bestin- class in­vest­ment, busi­ness and trade poli­cies and in turn re­in­force Dubai's and the UAE's role as a re­gional and global leader for the wider busi­ness com­mu­nity.

As the voice of the global and pan­re­gional busi­ness com­mu­nity in the re­gion, the MCBG will seek to part­ner with government on chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties that im­pact the busi­ness, in­vest­ment and trade cli­mate. By join­ing as one, and shar­ing our ideas and knowl­edge with the government and other stake­hold­ers, we will make Dubai the best place in the world to do busi­ness.

With the en­cour­ag­ing and strong sup­port of the Dubai Cham­ber of Com­merce and its pres­i­dent and CEO Ha­mad Buamim, we have al­ready be­gun work­ing with the government on a num­ber of con­cepts that will positively im­pact busi­ness here in Dubai and the UAE.

Ul­ti­mately, as the MCBG we be­lieve that pri­vate sec­tor can and should play a greater role in sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing a highly com­pet­i­tive pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment that en­sures Dubai is the fore­most global busi­ness hub. This ap­proach to pol­icy cre­ation will ben­e­fit ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing con­sumers, the econ­omy, the government's agenda, and the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

A pros­per­ous econ­omy spurs job cre­ation, and it ben­e­fits us all. By pro­mot­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween busi­ness and government we will be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to de­liver and sus­tain long-term growth for Dubai and the wider Gulf. And it is a vi­sion that unites us all.

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