Vibrant Gujarat summit: UAE to be partner country, first from the Muslim world

The confirmation from UAE is a huge success for the state government that has been trying hard to get Muslim nations on board for the summit.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad | Published:October 30, 2016 4:51 am

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first Muslim nation to become a “partner country” for Gujarat government’s biennial investors’ summit, the eight edition of which will be held from January 10-13 in 2017. “We have received a confirmation from UAE for being a partner country for Vibrant summit,” said P K Taneja, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries and Mines Department that is overlooking the preparation for the summit that was first started in 2003 by the then chief minister Narendra Modi to rekindle the pace of investments in Gujarat.

UAE, a federation of seven emirates — Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ras al- Khaimah — has become to 10th country to give its confirmation to partner with the Gujarat government for the upcoming summit. It is also one of the top 10 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) contributors in India. According to the figures from the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, UAE was the tenth largest FDI contributor with Rs 6,500 crore of FDI equity inflows during the year 2015-16.

The confirmation from UAE is a huge success for the state government that has been trying hard to get Muslim nations on board for the summit. In 2009 edition of the Vibrant Gujarat summit, Japan was the first to join as a “partner country”. The nine other countries who have agreed to be the partner countries for the 8th edition of Vibrant Gujarat include other five top-10 FDI contributors in India — UK, Japan, USA, the Netherlands and France. Besides, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Poland have already come on board. It was only in 2015 when the US agreed to be a partner country for the event.

Being partner countries, these nations will bring large business delegations that will be focussed on investing not just in Gujarat, but across India. Some of them are also expected to bring ministerial-level delegations to the summit that will be inaugurated on January 10 by PM Modi.

In the first week of September this year, a state government delegation under the leadership of SJ Haider, Principal Secretary (Tourism & Civil Aviation) had visited countries in the Middle East, including Oman and UAE, to attract investors from these countries for the upcoming summit. “The response from UAE was overwhelming when we visited them. With UAE confirming their participation, different sectors, like petrochemicals, textiles, gems and jewellery, cruise tourism and medical tourism, stand to get a boost. We got a similar response when we visited Oman,” said Haider, recalling the delegation’s visit.