UAE to create development fund as it plots new course for Indian Ocean group
The UAE promised to reinvigorate a 22-country group promoting security and stability around the Indian Ocean.
Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State, became chairman of the Indian Ocean Rim Association this week and said the country would lead efforts to create a development fund to help boost the group’s profile and help less-developed states.
He said the UAE would promote the association as a way to benefit integration and understanding across the region.
“Twenty-two years ago when Iora was launched, close cooperation between our nations was unthinkable. Now, it seems anything is possible,” Mr Al Sayegh said on Thursday.
“As the UAE takes over, I hope we can consolidate and build upon its many success.
“The UAE will drive forward Iora as a way to promote a shared prosperity.”
Iora was established in 1997 and was inspired by South African president Nelson Mandela as he urged co-operation in the region.
Today, the group represents 2.7 billion people who live in countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
Iora has six main areas of co-operation: maritime security, trade and investment, fisheries management, reducing the risk of disaster, scientific co-operation and promoting tourism and cultural exchange.
Preventing geopolitical conflict and reducing tension in the region are also crucial to the association’s aims.
Mr Al Sayegh said a priority for the UAE in the next two years would be to create a major development fund to increase growth in the region, with all member states contributing in some way.
“The UAE believes such a fund is essential to deliver the economic potential of the Indian Ocean rim,” Mr Al Sayegh said.
“The UAE wishes to leave a lasting legacy for Iora and fulfil its potential as a globally significant organisation.”
Senior officials from countries including Tanzania, South Africa and Thailand gathered in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday for three days of talks, with a Iora Council of Ministers meeting held on Thursday.
The UAE wishes to leave a legacy for Iora and fulfil its potential as a globally significant organisation
Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State, took over as chairman of the Indian Ocean Rim Association