GCC Seeks Economic Unity by 2025, Says Secretary General

23 Jan 2020

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, H.E. Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani visited Zayed University campus in Dubai today. He was warmly welcomed by Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, President of Zayed University, alongside Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Acting Vice-President of Zayed University.

During his lecture "Gulf Cooperation Council: Ambitions and Achievements," he acknowledged such a renowned varsity, which seamlessly portrays UAE's march towards sustainable development, and praised the wise leadership's endless support to Zayed University.

The Secretary-General hailed ZU for efficiently carrying its roles as a beacon of educational excellence in the region, and for implementing the directives of the nation's wise leadership, and for their active coordination and collaboration in various fields. He also commended the University for its role in advancing the sustainable development efforts of the nation and its people through its training and educational programs to build both individual and institutional capacities, to achieve the objectives and noble principles of the UAE.

The visit parts with ZU's Middle East and GCC Studies minor program, which involves speakers from the UAE and abroad to introduce students to the historical, political, economic, and cultural aspects of the Middle East region in general and the Arab Gulf in particular.

The program also empowers the students to study the development of the region, its diversity, and its prospects. It builds on solid foundations of humanities and social sciences to help students make informed opinions, explain socio-political issues, and better understand how to navigate the societal and institutional realities that they will encounter daily.

In his lecture, His Excellency, the Secretary-General talked about the march of forming the Gulf cooperation council, stressing that it was established following an insight proposed by Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his brothers the leaders of the GCC countries.

There are five strategic objectives that we abide by in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the first of which is ensuring safety and security in all aspects, whether against external threats or combating crime. The second is maintaining economic growth and work to diversify the sources of income.

Thirdly and most importantly is human development, GCC citizens are the core value of our economic growth, and they are means of ensuring a sustainable mechanism to pursue all the given objective. Therefore, we must invest in educating future generations and create innovative environments, all to ensure that our citizens would shape and create new opportunities, become entrepreneurs, rather than searching for jobs.

The fourth objective would relate to strengthening the international presence of the GCC amongst regional and international organizations, to have an intelligence and assistance role in achieving stability in the region, as well as parting with the global security process.

Last but not least, is adapting a regional resilience, to ensure dealing with crises and disasters, recover from them as quickly as possible, and reshaping a post-crisis stable, healthy life for our citizens. "A great example would be the UAE, for hosting an academic postgraduate program in strategic, defense and security studies and also the planning a research center as an academic entity to be initiated by 2022 to research and study opportunities of achieving regional security.

Economically, currently, and following the directives of their highnesses, our leaders, we are working on achieving an economic unity by the beginning of the year 2025. "There are many examples of our success in the economic field, the most prominent of which is the volume of trade exchange in the year 2003 which stood around Six billion US dollars, and this year we've surpassed 147 billion US dollars; this indicates the importance of the stock market and the unified customs system.

In terms of Mobility, specifically in the free movement of people, this year, we've recorded 127 million people having free Mobility from 4.5 million in 2003. Also, property ownership has increased from 1000 citizens owned real-estate in the GCC back in 2003, and today over 250 thousand. In Economic activities and businesses, we recorded 3000 back in 2003, and today they jumped to over 115 thousand businesses owned by GCC citizens.

He also addressed the importance of the electrical connection project, which jointly connects the countries with a substantial energy power bank in case of sudden shortages. Also expressed optimism concerning the railway network between the GCC countries.

In response to a question by a university student about the key to success, His Excellency, the Secretary-General said that the secret of success that he drew from his entire life experiences, is training, training, and training. "The three sound the same, but different. The first training is joining a training program, the second training is training others, and the third is self-training by setting one's challenges, objects, and tasks. From such experiences, they develop new patterns and methods to succeed.

He praised Emirati Women for the notable roles and achievements they play in the society, and described them as a critical pillar in the unification of the nation, and the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council. He also Praised Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, saying that she is not only an ambassador of Emirati women to the world, but also of all the GCC ladies.

"Today, as I witness before me, Emirati women excelling in all fields, in Education, Science, culture, and social bonding, they are great contributors to the advancement of their nation. Emirati women have even taken it to the next level, Major Mariam Al Mansouri who joined the UAE air force, was among the first pilots to lead the campaign against Daesh in Syria. Furthermore, amongst you is a mother, who've raised the first Arab Astronaut, Hazza Al Mansouri," he said.

The meeting was attended by ZU deans, faculty members, administration and staff, and over 400 students.

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