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The UAE’s centrality makes it perfect meeting place for BRICS, experts say

The UAE’s centrality makes it perfect meeting place for BRICS, experts say
9 May 2024 08:25

KHALED AL KHAWALDEH (ABU DHABI)

The UAE’s geographical centrality, political stances, and economic openness were hailed by panellists at the BRICS Forum held at the Annual Investment Meeting Congress 2024 in Abu Dhabi this week.

Speaking to Aletihad on Wednesday, panellists said that despite its relatively small size, the country’s location both geographically and politically on a crossroads between east and west made it invaluable as a member state.

“It’s an addition into the BRICSs club, as another multilateral multipolar country, in the UAE, you have built yourselves on trade routes for the last 50 years by staying friends with the North, staying friends with the South, staying friends with the East, staying fresh with the West,” Russel Curtis, the CEO of Invest Durban, a semi-governmental investment advisory service from South Africa told Aletihad.

“We see the opportunity of UAE being in BRICS with us to continue to appreciate the partners of the past and build new ones in the future for our shared common good, because it’s on the rails of trade and investment.”

Makarov Mikhail, the Director of the international of the Russian Agency for Strategic Initiatives, said the UAE was primed to be the meeting place for the organisation.

“If you want to organise a meeting, Dubai or Abu Dhabi is probably the best place in the world. I mean, our partners from China, from Asia, from Brazil can all make it here easily; it’s in the middle,” he told Aletihad. Mikhail said the UAE’s deep capital markets, coupled with the scale and importance of its logistical hubs, were enticing to BRICS members who hoped to see better collaboration in the future.

“We are planning a beneficial, valuable partnership, non-political, and very focussed on neutral spheres and themes like climate, social activity, or social best practices,” he said.

Curtis added to this saying that whilst geo-political conflicts were still a major factor in splitting the world, the pragmatism of the country’s business policies were exactly what BRICS appreciated – saying it was necessary to take a longer view of the future when strategising on such matters.

“The UAE brings that global connectivity. It brings that multicultural partnership and acceptance. It brings capital, make no mistake, but also sources of energy,” he said.

“Importantly, it brings a model which has worked for the UAE for the last 50 years into a conversation that needs to have that globalised, partnership orientation.”

The UAE officially joined the intergovernmental organisation at the start of this year, as part of an expansion that included Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

The group has been touted as a counterbalance to western-dominated, “uni-polar” organisations like the G7, and aims to create fairer market conditions for countries in the “global south.”

One way in which it attempts to do this is by fostering greater economic integration between members. Curtis said that since the UAE joined, South Africa is already reaping the rewards of its membership and is optimistic that this could be expanded further.

“With the UAE entry into BRICS, we see greater opportunities between the UAE and South Africa, which we have started in the city of Durban with increased flights from the UAE airlines. So, it increases the connectivity for our region, through your region, to the rest of the world; that’s not only passengers, but also freight and air freight,” he told Aletihad.

“We’re very excited with this partnership on air connectivity. And now that we are in the BRICS club together, we can translate that into more industrial development and more social development.”

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